Darknet marketplaces are embracing cryptocurrency obfuscation techniques such as bitcoin mixers at a blistering pace, according to new research by analytics firm Crystal Blockchain.
- The rush “indicates a rapid adoption of crypto mixing services by darknet entities," a clientele Crystal Blockchain notes has had little choice but adapt to the growing prominence of anti-money laundering safeguards on exchanges around the world.
- Indeed, in Q1 2020, darknet marketplaces saw a 29% increase in their bitcoin take from safeguard-heavy exchanges. That’s in spite of such markets historically preferring shady exchanges that ask few questions of their users.
- Darknet entities may also be using inter-market transfers to hide their crypto tracks, as Crystal Blockchain identified that 19% of the space’s Q1’s bitcoin flow passed among separate darknet entities. That’s up from 10% in Q1 2019.
- Overall, darknet markets are exchanging more dollar value in bitcoin than at any point since 2017, Crystal Blockchain said, adding, “These statistics indicate that bitcoin continues to be a financial tool for darknet entities.”
CORRECTION (July 15, 16:13 UTC): BitFury's report was originally published in May. It was published a blog post detailing the Q1 activity on Tuesday.
The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.