Europol: We Can’t Trace Monero Transactions

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Europol has claimed that it can’t trace transactions made on the Monero blockchain, but not everyone is falling for it. In a series of leaked slides obtained by Twitter user @fireice_uk, Europol representatives claimed that they could track DASH and Zcash transactions, but that swapping to Monero transactions effectively killed the trail. However, not everyone has trusted Europol’s claim, and have suggested that this is an attempt Europol to trap would-be crypto crooks by having them do just that.

Europol Goes Off Piste

In his tweet, @fireice_uk shows two slides from an E3C conference that Europol attended in 2019, where they claim that privacy options within DASH and Zcash are optional and that most transactions are not private. It then provides a distinctly odd take on Monero’s privacy capabilities:

Uh oh. For a moment there it seemed that you were trying to peek into this Monero address [address listed]. Hmmm, it really looks that you were, like, trying to check out this dude’s balance. Well, Monero says…’No!’

This baffling monologue, which, let’s not forgot comes from Europol, Europol, is given some context by E3C/Europol collaborator and cyber expert Jerek Jakubcek during a Blockchain Alliance webinar on privacy coins:

Since the suspect used a combination of Tor and [Monero], we could not trace the funds. We could not trace the IP-adresses [sic]. Which means, we hit the end of the road. Whatever happened on the Bitcoin blockchain was visible and that’s why we were able to get reasonably far.

However, not many people in the community were buying the so-called admission that Monero was untraceable by Europol. @fireice_uk compared it to Xeroxing dollar bills while dialing 999, while a respondent to his Tweet said sarcastically, “I heard cops can’t lie and have to tell you they are cops”.

Europol Trying Reverse Psychology?

Privacy coins have had a hard time of it recently, with some exchanges delisting them citing regulatory concerns, and with more likely to follow in 2020. Monero is known to be one of the most private blockchains out there, so much so that the German Ministry of Finance warned about it in November last year, but whether agencies like Europol have literally no way of tracing it is doubtful – especially given that @fireice_uk himself penned a piece in April last year explaining how to do just that.

Nice try Europol, nice try.