The role of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange in the darknet

Because many people around the world have switched to the “stay at home” mode in which The only way to communicate and receive something is through the global networkI started to show up some of themNew information on Darknet activity.

There was one in the COVID-19 era increase, both from the activity of cyber fraudsters who use the capabilities of cryptocurrencies and from illegal activity generally on the World Wide Web.

Naturally Not everyone who does business on the Darknet take advantage of the epidemic receive malicious benefits in compliance with the code of honor. However, Cointelegraph decided to find out how Bitcoin is connected to the Darknet or Dark Networkwhether the global pandemic affects illegal cryptocurrency transactions and how authorities around the world are dealing with it.

Crypts and Darknet

The role of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange in the darknet
The role of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange in the darknet

The digital assets are used in many areas, including serving as a means of payment in the Darknet for those looking for maximum anonymityin carrying out operations that the supervisory authorities consider questionable.

The Cryptocurrencies they are special popular among sellers of items like illegal drugs, weapons and other restricted goods. Darknet users promote the network markets through the use special computer programs as the TOR browser Avoid inaccessibility of these assets by using crypto with their pseudo-anonymity for transactions. This type of transaction and the concept of decentralization have restricted the control of world intelligence services.

Sellers of illegal goods stuck to the decentralized principle of cryptocurrencies right from the start and used them long before Bitcoin (BTC) became a household name. A surprising case is the online market Silk Road, which started as part of the Darknet. It was heavily dependent on Bitcoin, while the token was still unknown to many in 2011.

In the darknet, all connections between trustworthy nodes are established using special protocols and ports. T.All IP addresses are hiddenIt is therefore not possible to access the Darknet via known browsers such as Chrome, Firefox or Safari. The entire network works on the principle of decentralization and is not controlled by any authority. Because of this, users get a certain level of security since many darknet sites Use TOR encryption protocolsWhat Hide user identities and replace IP addresses.

There are many websites that sell illegal goods on the dark network, including AlphaBay and Oasis. Presumably, they have caused the price of Monero (XMR), the privacy-oriented cryptocurrency, to skyrocket in the past after the token was added as a payment option. Anonymous token transactions have allowed the Darknet to progress, but this in turn has created a link between cryptocurrencies and illegal activity in many people’s minds today.

Aleksadnr Lazarenko, head of the research and development department of IB Group – one of the largest providers of solutions for the detection and prevention of cyber attacks – shared with Cointelegraph his opinion about why cryptocurrencies are popular with criminals:

“Despite the fact that transactions in Bitcoin are characterized by their transparency, they continue to grant considerable anonymity to cybercriminals. Since cryptocurrencies are usually decentralized and do not belong to any particular national jurisdiction, the transactions they use are not.” Watched closely by the monetary authorities. Another obvious reason for cybercriminals’ passion for cryptocurrencies is that no valid personal information needs to be disclosed to their holders. “

Does the Darknet need Bitcoin?

There is still an opinion that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are only used for criminal purposes. However Offshore banking systems are better suited to financing terrorist activities and money laundering as an anonymous decentralized network through which payments are processed.

Bitcoin has certainly helped direct the Silk Road economy to the Darknet, however The Darknet markets have started to close their doors in recent yearsAnd for a good reason. According to Chainalysis experts, darknet business flourished in 2019, thanks in particular to cryptocurrencies. However, this Online assets are subject to strong price fluctuations, which affects the use in the Darknet.

Carles López-Penalver, a cybercrime analyst at Chainalysis, told Cointelegraph this Sellers slowed in times of bitcoin price dropfor fear that the funds they accept will not be worth the next day:

“Although we believe that the darknet markets are robust and will stay here, it was interesting to see Darknet market revenues declined much more than we expected after the recent and significant drop in Bitcoin prices associated with COVID-19“”

However, experts agree that regardless of the price of a particular cryptocurrency, they remain popular on the Darknet. Lazarenko said:

“Cryptocurrency is de facto the main underground currency, so it will definitely be popular. The extent of its popularity and use depends directly on the situation of the underground market: as it grows, there will likely be more cryptocurrency transactions. When it comes to the top payers There are only a few cryptocurrencies in this market that are comparable in popularity to Bitcoin, so maybe we will see the growth of Ethereum 2.0 as soon as it comes to life, but it is probably still behind Bitcoin.

Could TON be the new darknet?

Despite the decline in cryptocurrency trading in the dark network Criminal activity appears to be shifting to distributed platforms and encrypted applicationsHere you can access the Telegram Open Network (the Open Red Telegram operating system).

Many think that TON will be a new darknetand here is why. The common websites that users see when opening a link in a browser are based on the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), the Internet Protocol (IP) and the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). TCP is responsible for reliably transferring the stream of bytes from one computer to another, IP is used to forward the record or to determine all data transfer points, and HTTP works at a higher level and enables encryption. Information in the form of documents.

Overlapping networks such as TOR or VPN can be created based on these protocols. Most of them are designed to address privacy issues such as low security and lack of anonymity. The telegram team suggested another one: TON Sites. From a technical point of view Websites created in the TON network look like normal websites, but the difference is that However, the content is not stored on any server distributed over network nodes and users. Instead of IP addresses in this network There will be an Abstract Datagram Network Layer protocol By default, this provides encryption, while access to regular HTTP sites and vice versa is possible via gateways.

Not surprisingly, some analysts view TON sites as part of a technologically advanced darknet platform, the core of which is the grief cryptocurrency. Russian authorities Law enforcement officials have therefore expressed concern about the platform and released a notice in March asking contractors to do so Investigate and block anonymous networks that target both TOR and TON.

In addition, darknet platforms like TOR or possibly TON not only use cryptocurrencies, but also blockchain technology as a whole. There are already some projects that are actively using blockchain to access their resources. Chain analysis experts confirmed the following:

“There are some fraudulent markets and stores where blockchain technology has been implemented beyond a currency form. Several card stores and some small pharmacies trade blockchain DNS, which uses Namecoin and Emercoin to protect markets from blockages, to ensure ISP DNS that your customers can access your market. “

Authorities fight cyber crime

Regulators around the world increasingly concerned about the role of cryptocurrencies in money laundering and the financing of various illegal activities. Since the beginning of 2020, many governments have started to actively combat this situation and have taken various legal measures to strengthen their protection against financial cybercrime.

According to chain analysis The number of Darknet users directly depends on how strict government policies are on the Internet. Therefore “Darknet” is mainly used in the USA, Russia and some European countries like Germany, the Netherlands and France.

Repetition of measures taken by Russia, with the central bank regularly introducing strict recommendations on how financial institutions should uncover suspicious transactions, including digital currency exchanges and U.S. regulatory and law enforcement agencies.The U.S. launched a cryptocurrency intelligence program in March that proposes new rules and tax reporting requirements to pave the way for broad acceptance of blockchain technology.

At the end of March, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) Announced a Partnership with South Korean data intelligence company S2W Lab to analyze darknet activity, including cryptocurrency transactions. However, it remains unclear how effective their measures will be, as users on the dark side of the internet tend to find new ways to continue their illegal activities in one way or another.

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