Monero is Not Illegal

There have been a lot of misinformed people spreading rumors about Monero and how it will be banned - or is already.

Let me state this clearly - Monero is not illegal!

Monero is Free!

When people say Monero (or any other cryptocurrency) is "banned", what they really mean is that politicians make it illegal to accept for payment. In Western countries, no cryptocurrency has been declared illegal.

Is Monero illegal in Texas?

NO. Monero is 100% legal in Texas!

This misinformation is because of HB 4371, a bill brought to the Texas Pensions, Investments & Financial Services committee by a state representative. It died in committee and was not taken to a full floor vote. This means it did not pass and it is not law.

Despite the shrill coverage from blockchain media, even if this bill passed it would not "ban" Monero. It only required that anyone receiving cryptocurrency identify the sender. This would apply the same to Bitcoin as it does to Monero. The bill also didn't spell out how one would "verify" the sender's identity - it could be argued that asking the sender's name would fulfill the requirement. There is no mention of KYC, scanning driver's licenses, etc.

The bill didn't pass, never made it to the floor, and even if it did pass it would not ban Monero!

Did the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) ban Monero?

NO. The FATF did not ban Monero!

There has been a lot of coverage about a powerful international regulatory body named the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and how it is going to ban Monero.

The most serious concerns come from section 114 of a leaked "Virtual Asset Guidance" draft proposal that requires cryptocurrency exchanges to record the:

(i) originator’s name (i.e., the sending customer);

(iii) originator’s physical (geographical) address, or national identity number... or date and place of birth;

(iv) beneficiary’s name;

...It is not necessary for the information to be attached directly to the VA transfer itself.

If this guidance is accepted by major cryptocurrency exchanges, all cryptocurrencies - not just Monero! - will require customers to supply information about where the money is coming from. This will likely be the wallet (personal, another cryptocurrency exchange, etc.) and the owner's name, which all major exchanges already know because of the KYC process.

Secondly, it specifically states that "It is not necessary for the information to be attached directly to the [virtual asset] transfer itself". This means that the blockchain itself would not need to change - Bitcoin and Monero would not be legally required to record KYC information directly in the ledger. The guidance states that when money is transferred to an exchange, the sender would have to tell the exchange information about the sending address. This unequivocally says that the technology itself is not illegal, just that major centralized, regulated entities need to ask for more information from their customers.

I am very unconcerned that the FATF's proposal will harm any cryptocurrency let alone Monero and other privacy coins.

Will Monero be banned soon?

NO. "Banning" Monero might happen in countries like China or India, which already ban all cryptocurrencies, but Western nations with independent judiciaries will likely find laws banning Monero unconstitutional if the country also doesn't ban Bitcoin. You should be more worried about a Bitcoin ban than a Monero ban!

The most likely way a government would ban Monero is to make any currency that obfuscates the sender and receiver illegal. This essentially bans all privacy coins. But there is essentially no difference between paper cash, which makes it impossible to track the origins of payments, and private currencies like Monero! The government would have to ban their own fiat currency and admit all money must be 100% traceable - a "big brother" argument that is unlikely to be popular.

Given the backlash against big tech firms like Facebook and Equifax compromising privacy, and various localities outlawing cashless businesses because they disenfranchise low-income citizens, I find it quite unlikely that the United States will ban cash - or Monero - anytime soon.

Conclusion

Reports of Monero's demise have been greatly exaggerated. Monero was not outlawed and will not be outlawed. If you see any proposed laws trying to ban cryptocurrencies come up, be sure to write your representative and inform the media.


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