Crime and dark web activity have always been big in the crypto space, but as of late, it looks like the numbers in the space have grown exponentially over the past three years.
The Dark Web Is Expanding Heavily
According to a new report issued by Bitfury – a bitcoin technology firm – dark web activity in the crypto arena has surged by more than 300 percent over the past three years. Furthermore, the number surged by more than 60 percent in just 2020 alone. The report suggests that dark net players garnered more than a quarter of a billion dollars in bitcoin units during quarter one of this year. This is miles higher than the mere $87 million that was garnered in 2017.
Interestingly, however, it looks like bitcoin activity itself in the dark web space has fallen in recent months as more and more players turn to altcoins to do their dirty work. As it stands, the report suggests that popularity has grown for assets like both Litecoin – a hard fork of bitcoin – and Monero, which boasts quasi-anonymous properties. They are now two of the biggest targets of dark web crypto users.
The report explains:
These drops in bitcoin received and sent could be due to the growing popularity of altcoin usage by darknet entities.
As time has gone by, more safety measures have been implemented by cryptocurrency exchanges and related businesses. For the most part, exchanges, trading platforms and other enterprises employ know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering protocols designed to cut down on illegal and/ or criminal behavior.
But this hasn’t done much to deter the activity itself. Instead, players are just resorting to more “private” measures to get their work done and hide what they own. In addition, the fact that they are now using Monero more often creates a serious problem in that the coin is quite difficult to track, according to Bitfury. The firm can monitor the activity surrounding bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, bitcoin cash and all ERC-20 tokens, but Monero is often another story.
Keeping Things Quiet
This is likely why the asset is often the object of hackers’ affections in crypto jacking schemes. This process occurs when a hacker overtakes a person’s computer or device without their knowledge or consent. From there, they can mine cryptocurrencies – typically Monero – and rake in a huge profit using the person’s electricity. The owner of the device earns nothing minus huge energy bills that show up in their mailboxes.
Bitfury has also commented that while it is sometimes able to unveil activity surrounding mixer coins as well, this is never a done deal. Mixer coins work to mix transactions and crypto batches together, making them harder to track and distorting transaction data to throw off anyone who might be watching.