Blockchain privacy might be under siege from a policy standpoint, but that’s not stopping Monero (XMR-USD) at all. On the contrary, the XMR crypto is thriving through the hard philosophical debates of privacy versus safety. Today, it doubles down on its commitment to keeping transactions anonymous with a new hard fork upgrade. The news is yet another instance of the protocol marching to the beat of its own drum. While the certainty of blockchain anonymity’s future remains up in the air, the project continues to innovate.
Monero, along with Zcash (ZEC-USD) and other projects like Tornado Cash, is leading a wave of desired privacy in the blockchain space. It and Zcash provide this privacy by purposely obfuscating who conducts transactions on their chains, how much they are trading and to whom they are trading it. This practice makes the flow of XMR from party to party utterly anonymous.
But as regulators look to enforce within the crypto space, privacy projects are directly in the line of fire. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been on Monero’s tail for years now. Back in 2020, it offered up a $625,000 bounty to anybody capable of cracking the project’s code and helping it to track users. More recently, the European Union has been crafting legislation meant to ban blockchain anonymity within its borders.
Things came to a boiling point this month when the U.S. Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash. The project, which allows users to anonymize their money by mixing it with other users’ assets, came under fire after it was revealed to be a tool of North Korean hacking outfit Lazarus Group. But even as the government goes after a close peer to the XMR crypto, Monero developers are unfazed. That much is evident based on the project’s new upgrade.
Monero Hard Fork Ups XMR Crypto Privacy Further
The Tornado Cash sanctions are greatly hampering the project, that’s for sure. U.S. citizens can no longer use the tool or interact with dozens of blacklisted wallets associated with it. This is causing a ripple effect that’s hitting a number of other protocols. While this reality is rattling several other projects worried about further sanctions, Monero developers are rolling out an upgrade that doubles down on blockchain privacy.
The hard fork upgrade released over the weekend has not seen much backlash from Monero users themselves. Of course, being the privacy-focused investors they are, the more anonymity afforded to transactions, the better. This hard fork, coming after a delay in July, accomplishes just that.
Specifically, it increases anonymity by upping the amount of signatures required by validators of transactions from 11 to 16. This ups privacy by further blurring the line between which validators have actually validated a given transaction, and those that are are simply “placebos.”
Additionally, the upgrade increases the performance of the network. A new “Bulletproof” algorithm is purported to increase transaction speed while reducing transaction size. Developers say the algorithm will lead to a 5% to 7% increase in blockchain productivity. “View tags” have been introduced to up the speed of wallet syncing on the network as well, allowing users to get their wallets up and running with the chain faster.
In the wake of the upgrade, XMR crypto prices remain largely stable. Earlier today, the coin’s price rose by a half of a percent. Volume is rising by 23%, with more than $90 million worth of XMR swapping hands.
On the date of publication, Brenden Rearick did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.