$515 Million Worth of BTC Already Spent
Cryptocurrencies and the dark web share a long and significant past. The use of digital currencies, especially those designed with a focus on privacy like Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC) is quite prevalent in the underbelly of the Internet.
Now, a report by blockchain security firm Chainalysis posits that the use of bitcoin for dark web purchases could exceed $1 billion this year.
According to the report, bitcoin’s year-to-date spending on the dark web has already reached $515 million for the year 2019. The cryptocurrency’s spending on the dark web peaked in 2017 at about $852 million. One year later, in 2018, the use of bitcoin on the dark web took a deep dive following the monumental price crash in the crypto market. However, now it seems that the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto could again witness an unprecedented use in the alleys of the forbidden part of the Internet.
The report reads in part:
“Of all the illegal online marketplaces, Hydra is the largest, according to Chainalysis, which examined transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain to see how much was being spent on these sites. Drugs are the most prominent category of goods sold, but child porn and stolen credit-card information are also in demand. Bitcoin is the most popular cryptocurrency accepted on these marketplaces, followed by Monero.”
Dark Web Crypto Activity Attracting Undesirable Attention
The research by Chainalysis comes shortly after the G20 agreed to follow the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) directive to tighten the regulatory noose around cryptocurrency exchanges. For the uninitiated, the FATF’s latest guidelines require cryptocurrency exchanges based out of any of the G20 member nations to share all their customer transaction data with government organizations for security purposes.
The use of cryptocurrencies for illicit activities in the dark web is perhaps one of the biggest reasons why numerous crypto trading platforms have bolstered their know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) measures, including the likes of Binance and Kraken.
Notably, the rampant use of digit currencies in sponsoring illicit activities ranging from the purchase and sale of drugs to distribution of child pornography has also put global law forces on the alert.
As reported by BTCManager on June 14, 2019, the European Union’s (EU) lawful enforcement agency, Europol had revealed that it was developing a cryptocurrency game that would train low-level law enforcers on how to trace and investigate virtual currency-related crimes.