Privacy coins Monero and Zcash are surging this morning, possibly prompted by news reports that Joe Biden will shortly sign an executive order regulating cryptocurrency.

Reuters, Bloomberg News and the Washington Post were among those reporting that the US president this week would order a “sweeping review” on crypto, including the opportunities it presents for illicit transactions and the steps that the federal government should take to address them.

The executive order will also address whether the Federal Reserve should launch a central bank digital currency, ask the Treasury to look into possible financial stability threats, mandate a look into the energy consumption used by crypto mining and require the State Department to report into how the US should coordinate with its allies.

It wasn’t clear if this was the reason for the privacy coin surge or if it was possibly related to Russian sanctions. But there was no denying that something caused the pump. Monero spiked 20 per cent in an hour and a half starting at 9.30am AEDT, climbing from US$169 to a seven-week high of US$204, up 29.2 per cent from 24 hours ago.

Zcash was up 26.3 per cent to $139, also its highest level since the January 20 crash.

Smaller privacy coins were more modestly. Dash had climbed 11.2 per cent to $95. Pirate Chain was up 7.4 per cent to $1.11.

All these coins are mostly useful for enabling private transactions that can’t be tracked through the blockchain records, like most cryptocurrencies.

Secret Network, which isn’t a privacy coin but a platform for private smart contracts, was up just 1.2 per cent.

Crypto market up 1.8%

Overall the crypto market stood at $1.81 trillion, up 1.8 per cent from yesterday.

Bitcoin was up 1.5 per cent to US$38,730, and Ethereum had climbed 3.1 per cent to US$2,579.

Terra was the biggest gainer in the top 10, rising 9.0 per cent to $85.

Monero and Zcash led gainers in the top 100, followed by Ecomi, which rose 16.6 per cent, and then Dash.

Juno Network and Radix were the biggest losers in the top 100, both falling 7.0 per cent.