Recently, the threat group behind Sodinokibi ransomware publicly announced the switch from Bitcoin to accepting only Monero payments. The switch was motivated largely by the fact that Monero is inherently more difficult for law enforcement to track payments as well as the groups desire to remain anonymous; something Bitcoin doesn’t offer to the extent of Monero. When a Bitcoin transaction is made the Bitcoin address and the transaction history are publicly recorded on the Bitcoin blockchain (referred to as the ledger). The public ledger is what allows you to associate the real world identity back to a Bitcoin address. With Monero the balance and transaction history are 100% private and not recorded on a public blockchain thus providing another layer of privacy.
Arete has established accounts with leading Over the Counter (OTC) trading centers for digital assets, including Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR). As with all cryptocurrency transactions, Arete will perform due diligence on the wallet provided by the Threat Actor and provide an OFAC attestation prior to performing a transaction. Monero transactions are performed by Arete staff and are on-demand to provide competitive and current market rates. Below is the current Monero fee structure:
• USD to XMR – cost plus 5% acquisition/transaction fee