Recent research has shown that Litecoin could be stepping up to replace Bitcoin as the digital currency of the dark web.
Researchers from Recorded Future arrived at this conclusion after conducting the analysis of 150 marketplaces, forums and message boards on the dark web.
Bitcoin (BTC) has, for the past few months, experienced a decrease in popularity as high transaction costs and extended delays have forced many vendors on the dark web to seek out better alternatives.
Their attempt to recapture the market with Bitcoin Cash resulted in only a short-lived period of success before negative reviews continued to flood into the message boards.
BTC’s rise to mainstream popularity is largely to blame for its continuous deterioration.
A rise in the volume of transactions has spread the blockchain network thin, turning it into an infeasible means of the transaction for an economy as volatile as a darknet market.
Now, the system is rife with delays, with some users reporting holdups of up to three days at a time.
The dark web is not a conventional market, and delays increase the risk of one or more parties getting tricked out of deals.
Bitcoin’s attempts to improve security has only resulted in further delays, forcing some vendors to have to wait for as many as three confirmations before the transaction can be completed.
Litecoin Is on the Rise, But So Is the Competition
Initial assessments pointed to Dash as the next big currency on the dark web, but as the Recorded Feature study revealed, this was not accurate.
Litecoin was found to be an implemented payment method on 30 percent of the analyzed sites, with Dash close on its heels with a 20 percent share.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash were found to be evidently less popular than Litecoin as they were found on only 13 percent and 9 percent of the researched darknet markets. Ethereum, with a 6 percent share, was found to be the least popular currency at the moment.
A robust code allows Litecoin to be speedier and more cost-effective than BTC since the miners can generate coins cheaply.
These are two features that have given Litecoin the edge over Bitcoin since its transition into the mainstream financial system in mid-2017.
But Litecoin does have to deal with competition, especially in the form of Monero.
The privacy-centric altcoin was found to be more popular in English-speaking countries where cyber scrutiny is generally higher.
Litecoin, on the other hand, has a strong Russian following. In a country where the laws governing cybercrime are not as punitive towards citizens, the need for privacy is thinner, and so Litecoin has continued to thrive in Russian darknet marketplaces as well as their English iterations.
BTC Faces Rejection from Its Own Crowd
Bitcoin’s rise in popularity started with the Silk Road market, where it became a unified method of payment for the mostly illicit transactions that took place in the market.
Even after the fall of Silk Road, it remained a popular privacy coin for all manner of characters on the dark web.
A wave of Bitcoin heists and arrests dramatically reduced the people’s faith in the digital currency, but it was its integration into the mainstream financial system that has finally made it an economically unfeasible mode of the transaction on the dark web.
Litecoin could be on the brink of rising to new heights as Bitcoin’s popularity continues to be at an all-time low. The same people who popularized BTC are now abandoning it; and in its place, they’re choosing Litecoin as their preferred payment option.
Already, several marketplaces have added Litecoin to their list of accepted altcoins and it is only a matter of time before the digital currency achieves massive recognition.
With Recorded Future asserting that the growing dissatisfaction with Bitcoin transcends language, business niche and geographical location, it may not be long before Litecoin becomes the official currency of the dark web.
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