Crypto News

Emmy award winner satirical show “Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” released a segment on ransomware attacks in the U.S. and their alleged main financial enablers, cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR). This criminal activity has been on the rise in the U.S. and has been caused by concerns from authorities and the public.

The segment begins with a review of some of the most important ransomware attacks recently perpetrated by hackers groups allegedly based in Russia and other safe-haven countries.  Attributed to hacker group REvil and The DarkSide, these bad actors supposedly took over the company Colonial Pipeline.

Responsible for overseen 45% of the U.S. east coast fuel, hackers took over the main computers and demanded to be paid in Bitcoin. This droved many inhabitants of the regions to chaos, attracting more attention to an issue already affecting everyday citizens, the report by Last Week Tonight presented several examples.

Data presented by the show claimed that revenues from ransomware attacks paid in Bitcoin, Monero, and other cryptocurrencies have “quadruple” during 2020. This metric stood at $350 million, according to “undercount” estimates, at that time.

These types of attacks have been gaining traction due to platforms that offer “ransomware as a service”, making it easy for anyone to acquire malware and used it for these purposes. In addition, the segment claimed that Bitcoin, Monero, and cryptocurrencies have

(…) Made it much easier to make money from ransomware and much more difficult for law enforcement to recover payment. If ransoms were paid in wire transfers, companies could find a way to claw that money back, but with cryptocurrencies is nearly impossible to undo.

The Reply From The Monero Community

Later, the show’s host presented a “Monero ad” implying that the cryptocurrency sponsors its use for criminal activities. The funds in XMR can be exchanged with the approval of the safe-haven states that support the hackers and “look the other way so long as they do their work outside of their borders”.

A member of the Monero community Justin Ehrenhofer had an exchange via e-mail with the production team behind Last Week Tonight. Ehrenhofer clarifies that both Bitcoin and Monero are decentralized projects without “an official company or foundation”.

In addition, Ehrenhofer highlighted the importance of Monero as a tool to preserve people’s right to transact with “digital cash”, a tool that preserves their privacy. Comparing BTC and XMR, the community told Last Week Tonight that the latter is much more efficient at protecting a user’s identity.

For reference, here is the email exchange between Last Week Tonight @LastWeekTonight and me on Thursday/Friday regarding Monero #monero #xmr: pic.twitter.com/QFp3AQLr59

— Justin Ehrenhofer 🏳️‍🌈 (@JEhrenhofer) August 16, 2021

The Monero project celebrated Last Week Tonight’s segment via its Twitter handle. Despite the tone and approach taken by the show, it’s a platform with an international reach capable of introducing others to XMR and its privacy capabilities. The message said:

Thanks for prominently featuring Monero Last Week Tonight! Monero is an important financial tool that fights back against financial discrimination. Money should be private and fungible, and Monero’s volunteer community fights to keep it that way.

As NewsBTC previously reported, former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) acting director Michael Morell published a report proving that cryptocurrencies are much less used for illicit transactions than fiat currencies. Data provided by Morell found that less than 0.5% of BTC trading volume is attributed to illicit activities.

At the time of writing, XMR trades at $268 with a 1.25% loss in the daily chart.

XMR with minor losses in the daily chart. Source: XMRUSDT Tradingview