Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that bitcoin transactions have died down on darknet markets. While this may be true for illicit goods such as guns, drugs and credit card data, illicit market owners have changed their operations up a bit as a means of ensuring they can stay in business.
Darknet Sites Are Selling Coronavirus Masks
It has been reported by one source that darknet market owners are selling face masks for bitcoin on their websites to help customers allegedly battle the onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, they are also offering other health-related gear such as ventilators and assorted medical equipment, all of which can be purchased for crypto.
Sites across Europe, Russia and the United States have popped up over the past few weeks given that the demand for such products is through the roof. With so many people worried and afraid for their lives, sales of items like canned goods, packaged foods, toilet paper and water have all reached their peaks for the year, and people are stocking up to ensure they have what they need as they face the next few weeks while having to remain locked up in their homes.
The evidence of the darknet activities comes by way of Elliptic, a blockchain analysis firm. These sites are often bred to give people access to items they would not normally be able to purchase in traditional marketplaces. Elliptic suggests that this latest attempt to offer masks and related equipment is designed to offset global governments.
In a statement, the firm explains:
These vendors are opportunistic, jumping on any opportunity to supply goods that are difficult to obtain elsewhere.
A separate investigation conducted by Reuters in March shows that several darknet sites had begun selling high-grade facemasks for far more than the standard one dollar each customer is likely to see through standard e-commerce sites like Amazon. Some of these masks have been selling for as high as nine euros (close to $11 in USD).
One of the main problems, however, is that it’s unclear where these masks are coming from. They are nearly impossible to source, nor can companies confirm their rates of effectiveness.
Where Do These Items Come From?
Among the largest new markets to gain a foothold in the “mask-selling arena” is one known as “Recon,” a darknet platform that has purportedly been selling masks and other medical equipment in major marketplaces despite providing little to no source information for the products it offers.
In addition, several sites are also selling coronavirus testing kits for as much as $90 each, while others are selling the drug chloroquine – typically designed to fight malaria – and promoting it as a way of beating the virus. Either way, experts agree that darknet markets are likely to retain their foothold granted the COVID-19 pandemic continues to arouse fear.