Some weeks ago, Empire Market added Monero to its list of payment options, totaling the number of available cryptocurrencies to three.
The other two payment methods that are currently available for the market’s users are Litecoin and Bitcoin, which were added before the official launch of the market earlier this year.
It is no doubt that Monero has gained popularity over time because it offers more anonymity to a greater or lesser extent when compared to other cryptocurrencies. The factors that make altcoins, and Monero in particular, a preference to many is the use of stealth addresses and ring signatures, which work hand-in-hand to increase the level of anonymity whenever a transaction is made by an individual.
These two features have also created a headache for law enforcement agencies as was illustrated recently in a leaked memo that indicated how the U.S. Army and NSA compromised several anonymity tools. The content in the leaked document also suggested that the two agencies had been working to develop capabilities that would enable them to track Monero users.
For this reason, it is clear that the adoption of Monero as a payment system was meant to bring out convenience and increased security for the current members and those who happen to join the market at a later date.
Then also, given the fact that the Bitcoin network increasingly becomes congested, leading to delays and increased expenses during transactions, it was paramount that more options are available to those who use darknet markets.
What Empire Offers Over Other Markets
One thing to note is that Empire Market has gone a step further and advised its customers to make use of tumbling services. However, this is only applicable with Bitcoin and Litecoin; not Monero.
For the two digital currencies, Empire has inserted the links of the tumblers that can be used by users. For Bitcoin, they recommend BitBlender, and for Litecoin, they recommend PrivCoin.
Given that it is not impossible for third parties to trace altcoins, there is a need for darknet market users to take the necessary steps to protect themselves when making purchases and withdrawals on the dark web. And among the essential steps to take is to employ the use of tumbling services, which is dependent on the type of coins used.
What one needs to do is check the market and see if they offer a built-in service, as was the case with AlphaBay Market before its downfall. If they don’t have a built-in facility, then they might refer to an outside service, as is the case with Empire. And if there is no suggested shuffler anywhere in the market, then it remains the responsibility of the user to protect themselves.
Then, depending on the mixer, it may be used on the clearnet or the Tor browser. Before choosing one, the user should take into account the type of activity they undertake. But if it is illegal, then perhaps the best option is to operate on the dark web.
Adoption of Other Cryptocurrencies
Darknet markets continue to integrate more payment options as time elapses. However, one factor remains constant, and that is the use of Bitcoin, the most popular cryptocurrency.
With time, it was necessary for other developers to enter crypto scene by creating their own versions. The entry strategy, however, differs—as is the case with Litecoin, which was originally built to complement Bitcoin.
But there are some virtual currencies which were built not as a complement but as a competitor; the difference is the adoption rate, which was caused by several reasons such as availability and costs.
Because of these reasons, several questions about the future of Bitcoin can be raised such as the possibility of altcoins such as Monero, Ethereum, and Litecoin, surpassing it in terms of price and capital base.
Can Empire Scale to the Top?
So far, the highest number of altcoins to ever get adopted by any Tor-based market is four, and that is by two markets, namely the now-defunct AlphaBay Market, which was seized alongside Hansa Market in July of last year, and Silk Road 3.
Before the seizure of AlphaBay, the cryptocurrencies that were available as payments options were Bitcoin, Monero, ZCash, and Ethereum. On the other hand, Silk Road 3 has offered Bitcoin, Monero, Litecoin, and Ethereum.
Empire Market, which currently has three payment options, has the possibility of becoming the third marketplace to offer support for four cryptocurrencies if the admins choose to do so.
However, markets don’t just add cryptocurrencies to their systems—some key technical factors need to be considered to avoid inconvenience to the users.
For instance, Dream Market users have recently experienced issues with sending Bitcoin Cash to the wrong Bitcoin wallets, ultimately losing their funds in the process.
Up to this point in time, the issue has not yet been resolved, and for the BCH option to be available, the market user has to set it manually by typing /bchWallet at the URL after logging in to the site. Because of this, one can wonder if Dream Market will maintain its position as the top darknet market given the fact that there is stiff competition.
What Does the Future Hold?
With markets like Empire coming up at a swift rate, there is likely to be a significant shakeup in the darknet market scene since a lot can happen in a short time.
But irrespective of what transpires, markets will continue flourishing given that when one goes down another one emerges, as history has confirmed.