Privacy coins are meant to be private: that’s their raison d’être. Without this functionality, they’re just altcoins, and dangerous ones at that for anyone relying on them for anonymity. Verge (XVG) is one of the best known privacy coins on the market, but it risks becoming famous for all the wrong reasons. A new website claims to list the IP addresses associated with hundreds of verge transactions, stripping bare the coin’s claims of anonymity.
Verging on the Ridiculous
XVG has soared in price over the past month, which may owe more to the coin being heavily shilled by John McAfee than its strong fundamentals. Nevertheless, a combination of privacy coins being en vogue and XVG costing mere buttons – or rather satoshis – until recently have also contributed to its rise. Anyone snapping up the coin for its privacy features, however, could be in for a disappointment.
In a recent article on privacy coins, news.Bitcoin.com wrote: “The general consensus is that verge isn’t as private as some of its competitors, so don’t trust it with your life.” That may have been an understatement given that a website is now purportedly listing IP addresses pertaining to verge transactions. The operator of the website is anonymous, which is more than can be said of the transactions it reveals.
The revelatory site currently lists transactions that were conducted via the Verge Core wallet, but the Electrum XVG wallet will soon be added. There’s also the ability to determine transactions which went via a ‘rich list’ address; verge is notorious for having a large number of coins in possession of a handful of ‘whales’. One of these whales spent a cosy weekend with John McAfee before the former software tycoon extolled the virtues of verge, but the pair later fell out over claims that McAfee reportedly wanted millions from Verge and XVGWhale to shill the coin.
These claims are hard to verify, but coupled with the latest disclosures regarding verge’s anonymity, they emphasize the need to be cautious when using privacy coins for their intended purpose.
On its website, the cryptocurrency’s developers claim:
Verge uses multiple anonymity-centric networks such as Tor and I2P. The IP addresses of the users are obfuscated and the transactions are completely untraceable.
In a glossy video posted to the Verge Twitter account on December 20, a voiceover describes XVG as “the only untraceable currency devoted to everyday use”.
Concerns about the veracity of this claim have abounded for some time, with the creation of xvg.keff.org now seeming to confirm as much. Not only does verge fail to provide the privacy that is the coin’s USP, but it arguably provides less privacy than other cryptocurrencies in allowing IP addresses to be recorded.
As the whistleblowing site explains:
Obviously not all of the IPs below will be correct. Some might just be relaying a transaction. The point is that a large amount will be correct due to the Verge network being so small. If your IP appears in the list with a TX you didn’t do, it means you relayed it for someone else. Would you want your IP to be connected to other users’ transactions?
Verge has disputed the accuracy of the site purporting to publish transaction IPs, tweeting:
It is telling however that the development team have yet to issue an outright denial of the site’s claims. Even if a handful of IPs on the list are correct, it is evident that privacy proponents relying on verge are taking a risk every time they transact.
The roadmap for Verge – which began life as Dogecoin Dark – lists branded apparel and RSK smart contracts as next on its to-do list. Before it tackles these tasks, XVG’s development team may wish to return to the drawing board and take a look at their privacy coin’s alleged lack of privacy.
Do you think XVG’s development team have a case to answer, or are these claims unfounded? Let us know in the comments section below.