21st century technologies do not create only good things for society. A lot of articles have been written about how blockchain will change the world for the better, and why cryptocurrency assets are the future of the financial industry. However, while admiring the current and future benefits of using digital money, do not forget that this coin has another side, the nature of which is not so positive. Scammers, hackers, and other various criminals use popular cryptocurrencies and altcoins for activities which are prohibited by law. Together with the unfavorable market situation, which directly affects the attitude towards cryptocurrencies, a general negative attitude towards the new economy as a whole is growing.
The mass media, which helps to form public opinion about cryptocurrency, usually covers the dark side of the cryptoworld and call it «an instrument of criminal activity». In fact, it is not surprising that fraudsters and cybercriminals choose the most popular coins such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Monero for their activities. And especially given the crypto fever of recent years. Of course, government agencies and special commissions are seeking to change this by introducing increasingly stringent regulatory measures and new laws, but the situation is unlikely to change at all in the near future.
Nowadays, there are quite a few reasons why cryptocurrencies are becoming so attractive to fraudsters. No real names and a conveniently encrypted wallet address make it easy to hide their true identity: to discover it would be a real challenge. Another detail in their favor is transaction volumes. Global networks face an enormous burden every day due to the ever-increasing number of transactions. This makes the detection of fraudulent schemes a daunting task.
Even though the popularity of cryptocurrency is growing, the existence of the so-called «darknet» is bad news for many crypto enthusiasts. Not many newcomers are aware of the shadowy side of the cryptoworld. But the loudest headlines in the media announce that the cryptomarket promotes criminal activity.
Anonymity and confidentiality are the most attractive features for scammers in the cryptoworld.
According to a recent study, more than 95% of all illegal activities on the darknet were carried out using Bitcoin. Of course, this is due to the fact that Bitcoin is the most popular cryptoasset, in addition to its liquidity and value.
The story of the «Silk Road» perfectly demonstrated to the world how much the darknet and cryptocurrency can work together and influence each other. And although some think this story is positive (since it has been widely publicized), public opinion as a whole remains rather divided.
The darknet itself is a place where, roughly speaking, you can purchase any items or services that are normally prohibited by law. And at the same time stay out of trouble.
The main subject of interest for users of the darknet is the purchase of illegal drugs, weapons from the black market, a variety of fake documents including identification, all types of explosives, declassified files, various types of pornography, and other unpleasant things.
Not surprisingly, Bitcoin is the most liquid tool for this kind of activity and is likely to remain so for some time.
Speaking of official statistics, in 2016 alone almost 14,000 reported cases were related to illegal drugs and other illegal substances. The criminal activity involved more than 1,400 people, sellers and buyers, who were subsequently arrested by the police. According to estimates, in 2016 the amount of profit by drug dealers, including cryptocurrency, was $1.3 billion.
Given the popularity of the cryptomarket, it is not surprising that the official data of 2017 and 2018 will show even more shocking figures.
One thing is for certain: the closing of places to trade on the darknet will not be able to significantly change the situation, since new platforms will appear in the very near future to replace them. In the same way as with the ancient Hydra — the more heads you cut, the more new ones grow. World governments must take much more drastic measures to change the situation and make the acquisition of dangerous and prohibited items even more difficult.