The Illicit World of Bitcoin and the Dark Web

Two words will be indelibly etched on the minds of many people following bitcoin: Silk Road. This was the original dark market, and it became notorious for enabling people to sell drugs and other illegal items online. But, what is a dark market, and how does one work?

By themselves, dark markets aren’t necessarily illegal. They are simply digital marketplaces, created using the same kinds of technologies that typically underpin bitcoin. At the very least, they will accept bitcoin as a method of payment because of its quasi-anonymous characteristics.

Having said that, most dark markets quickly become illegal because of the kinds of products that they allow vendors to sell.

With more than $1.1 billion in cryptocurrency-related thefts during the past six months, the dark web hosts a thriving, illicit economy for opportunistic (and often unexperienced) cybercriminals

A decade ago, names such as Bitcoin, Dash, Etherem, and Monero were merely buzzwords.

Fast forward to today, and they’ve become as recognizable as the U.S.

In many realms, these digital currencies are ushering in a new era of investing – a modern gold rush, albeit in digital form.

As was the case during the physical gold rush in the mid-1800s, there are criminals looking to exploit innocent parties of their earnings.

Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies have become a favorite target of hackers and scammers in recent years, spurred by the bitcoin price explosion.

The bitcoin price, up two-fold since the beginning of the year, has fallen back somewhat recently–though not enough to put off cyber criminals.

Now, researchers are warning a version of the widely-used, privacy-focused Tor Browser has been used to spy on users and steal their bitcoin.

Bitcoin’s near-anonymous nature means it is an attractive target for cyber criminals.

Best Place to Buy Bitcoins: Bitcoins are the “hot potatoes” of this decade.

In many ways, cryptocurrency and the Dark Web are old friends.

As soon as there is an easy way to move illegal goods, certain entrepreneurial minds start whirling! 

It’s important to keep in mind that black market deals and illegal trafficking were not an invention of digital currency, however.

When Satoshi Nakamoto created Bitcoin, it was definitely a pseud-libertarian response to today’s financial problems and the corruption of traditional authoritative institutions. But the desire to create a decentralized digital currency is much more about the application of new technology and the creation of new beneficial markets.

Like drug sales, the ransomers typically demand Bitcoin, but also other cryptocurrencies, like Monero. This is because apart from the obvious value of Bitcoin, it is difficult to track.

Bitcoin’s congested blockchain and high transaction fees have claimed another casualty.

E-commerce vendors on the dark web, a place where the cryptocurrency remains unchallenged as the medium of transaction, have begun accepting other coins.

In a surprise of sorts, Litecoin has emerged as the second-most popular cryptocurrency for e-commerce transactions in the Internet’s underbelly.

(See also: Bitcoin Vs.

Litecoin: What’s The Difference?)

According to a report by Recorded Future, a real-time cyber threat intelligence provider, Litecoin is used by 30% of all vendors who use alternate methods of payment. Dash, another cryptocurrency whose protocol is well-suited for daily transactions, is accepted at 20% of all stores on the dark web. Bitcoin is accepted at all e-commerce storefronts on the dark web.

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