A STRATHCLYDE University graduate who has developed what they believe to be the most secure, private and untraceable cryptocurrency yet, has defended its potential for use by criminals.

Incognito is aiming to become the leading privacy coin on the market. It will be totally decentralised with no leading figure and will give complete control to the community that invests in it.

Fuelling that decentralisation further, the founder has chosen to remain anonymous, in a similar style to elusive graffiti artist Banksy.

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The cryptocurrency offers users superior security to that of more established players such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Unlike these, Incognito users will not have their digital wallet addresses or transactions listed on the publicly available ledger known as the blockchain.

It has been developed using the base code of Monero, the current privacy coin leader and uniquely, an extra level of anonymity has been added through the Invisible Internet Project or I2P.

All of this would appear to make it the cryptocurrency of choice for criminals, but the founder told The National: “Any type of money which provides anonymity or privacy is going to naturally be associated with criminality, as those participating in illicit activity will wish to leave no trace of their wrongdoings. This is why in crime films and novels, the bad guys will always take cash over say, a card transaction. Of course, the anonymity of privacy coins paints them as an ideal choice for illicit activity. It’s a lot more subtle than carrying around a big bag of cash.

“However, it’s important to remember that when it comes to money laundering, for example, traditional cash still remains king. There are billions of dollars in illicit circulation and digital currencies aren’t going to replace that anytime within the next three years.”

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The founder said it was essential to see the benefits of the anonymity and security of privacy coins, outwith illegal activity.

“Companies may not want competitors to be able to access information about large movements of cash, which could be part of a merger or acquisition, for example. Looking at individuals, in conflict zones or countries run by oppressive dictators, citizens may have monetary restrictions on smaller transactions – the privacy and anonymity granted by a cryptocurrency like Incognito could grant them far more financial freedom.”

With a total of 888,888,888 coins available to be mined, Incognito’s supply has been set high and undervalued to further dissipate minority ownership and improve accessibility.

The founder said leading cryptocurrencies were “fully traceable” and added: “On top of that, one of the main motivations behind cryptocurrency is ensuring power isn’t placed in the hands of one company, chief executive or regulator. As we’ve seen in the past with the financial crisis, that doesn’t work out too well for the average bank customer.

“With crypto becoming far less of a taboo, a future where it is used in everyday life doesn’t seem that far off. But with wider acceptance comes increased government interest, regulation and censorship.

“Coins become more susceptible to hacking and fraudulent exchanges. Large investors can take total control of the market. Things shift back to a more traditional form of banking, more or less defeating the purpose cryptocurrency set out to have.

“We’ve developed Incognito to protect it against these future issues. By incorporating I2P into the coin technology itself, we’ve created the most secure option out there.”