The US Internal Revenue Services (IRS) will pay out up to $625,000 for anyone who cracks the untraceable cryptocurrency Monero, as well as trace transactions on Bitcoin’s (BTC) Lightning Network.
Under the terms, private contractors and individuals are invited to submit a working prototype of how they intend to crack Monero.
These could range from a system that provides identifying information of a Monero wallet user, to the exact time, date, and amount for a specific transaction on the network, to even more sophisticated tools that can statistically predict when a certain address is likely to make a transaction.
The IRS will accept submissions in the form of working prototypes until Sept. 16. If accepted, applicants will receive an initial payment of $500,000.
This grant will allow applicants to develop their prototype into a working concept over the next eight months. Once the pilot test is completed and approved by the government, a further $125,000 grant will be awarded.
The contractor will provide “weekly status reports of progress” and work with members of the CI Cyber Crimes unit, and Cyber Special Agents.
The agency noted rising criminal usage for privacy coins like Monero as one of its motivations behind the proposal, stating that privacy coins are becoming more popular and are being used more by illicit actors.