For almost a decade now, and ever since the launch of Bitcoin, the dark web has evolved in a manner no one ever anticipated before.
At first, the Tor bowser was an anonymity tool used by the U.S. military for encrypted communication, but as years went by, criminals found a way to used it to perpetuate various forms of illegal activities because of the anonymity it offers.
It is also being used by activists, whistleblowers and journalists to combat corruption and censorship.
Because of the tremendous growth of the dark web, it has contributed toward the rise of virtual currencies, which play a crucial role in facilitating anonymous payments within the darknet community.
What’s more is that both the dark web and cryptocurrencies combined have proved how various business concepts applied in the hidden marketplaces can be used in enterprises.
Bitcoin: The First Cryptocurrency in the Dark Web
In less than a decade, Bitcoin being the very first cryptocurrency has grown to dominate the crypto world by having the largest coin market capitalization.
Behind it, there are other cryptocurrencies which were developed to either complement it, compete against it or both.
Despite all this, it has maintained its position as the dominant digital asset in the world.
However, there are a few reasons that have driven this factor and among them is its use in darknet markets, which has increased the demand.
From the past seizures and exit scams by darknet markets, it is evident that the high number of Bitcoins getting lost is a clear indication that the darknet community plays a role in the demand of the cryptocurrency.
Among various ongoing debates, some argue that Bitcoin would be nothing without the dark web.
To demonstrate, a case can be seen in Silk Road, which was the first major darknet market to come into the limelight. When U.S. authorities seized it, the Federal Bureau of
Investigation was able to confiscate hundreds of thousands of Bitcoins from the founder as well as from the market users.
During this time, other cryptocurrencies had not yet gained momentum, and as such, they were not being used as an alternative payment option in the hidden marketplaces.
But some years after the fall of Silk Road, other markets like AlphaBay began adopting payment options that could be used as an alternative to Bitcoin.
Seized AlphaBay Market Paved the Way for Altcoins
During its time at the peak, AlphaBay Market had gained its position as the world’s top darknet marketplace because of a variety of factors which make it missed by darknet users to this day.
Out of these factors, we have the adoption of other virtual currencies as payment options.
Before the market went down, it had four payment modes—Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero and Zcash—making it the very first to have a variety of common options.
But after the market went down, it took several months for other hidden sites to follow suit and implement other digital tokens as a means of facilitating payments.
Darknet Markets Integrating More Virtual Currencies
The past year or so has seen many developments in the dark web.
For the darknet marketplaces, this is the time that the top markets have been able to give their users a taste of how it feels to have altcoins as a means of payment.
We can note that as of now, the top five markets all have at least two payment options where the one that is most common in all is Bitcoin and then the rest to follow.
But due to issues with Bitcoin, so came the need to bring about other digital assets for the sake of convenience and increased anonymity, as was the case with Silk Road 3.1, which added three other virtual tokens simultaneously, bringing the total number to four.
The adoption of other cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum by darknet markets has created a demand for the assets but what is notable is that Monero comes in second to Bitcoin because it has been integrated by more markets than any other digital payment method except Bitcoin.
As of now, it can be observed that both big and small markets continue to add other tokens and in the end creating a demand for the cryptocurrency they have added.
The Future of Cryptocurrency in the Dark Web
Without a doubt, cryptocurrencies will continue relying on the dark web to a greater extent to survive because all of the transactions carried out on darknet platforms are done so in digital cash.
More so, whenever hacks of high magnitudes occur on crypto exchanges, some of the cybercriminals turn to the dark web to dispose of the proceeds, as was the case when stolen NEM coins were listed for sale on the dark web.
Then we also have the issue of ransomware, which has caused trouble in the recent years because it locks a computer or a group of computers and then demands payments in the form of cryptocurrency.
Because of how the malware operates, outlaws have been able to gain a fortune over the years from developing different types of malware.
In some cases, they sell it on the dark web and by doing so, they have created an opportunity for others to obtain the existing codes and modify them to fit certain needs.
In the past, only Bitcoin was used to receive payments, but we are beginning to see an era where hackers are integrating other virtual currencies when developing malware to give the victim a range of options, as is the case with the darknet markets.
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