News from Silk Road 3.1 indicates that the market is considering the adoption of alternative currencies as payment options. The altcoins currently on the table include Litecoin, Ethereum and Monero.
The message below is displayed on the login page of Silk Road 3.1 when a user logs in to the marketplace.The move comes after the market was impacted by frequent delays caused in the Bitcoin network. In a post on December 17, the site notified its customers that since Bitcoin transactions have been experiencing delays, they will integrate other payment options.The inconveniences caused by the congested Bitcoin network include delays in withdrawing funds from the marketplace and depositing funds to the site from a private account. In the end, users would not be able to purchase their desired product at their convenience.
Bitcoin is the first ever digital token to be adopted by dark web markets. Since its inception, the price of Bitcoin has witnessed tremendous growth. Those that acquired it earlier on have reaped profits of its meteoric rise.
Currently, some markets have more than one payment option. The biggest darknet marketplace, Dream Market, has adopted an additional mode of payment aside from Bitcoin—Bitcoin Cash was integrated into the market in December.
It is not the first time that darknet markets are integrating new cryptocurrencies. Before the seizure of AlphaBay last summer, the market had adopted ZCash, Ethereum and Monero as alternative options to Bitcoin.
The primary reason of having altcoins is to ensure that the customers of a given market have options, enabling them to switch to a better preference in the event one type of token is unavailable or experiencing issues.
For the case of Silk Road 3.1, the choice to accept Litecoin, Monero and Ethereum instead of Bitcoin Cash and ZCash was likely made after admins consulted with the market’s stakeholders, namely vendors who operate on the site.
There have been numerous reports where vendors of the market have openly expressed concerns about Bitcoin network delays. Some even complain of not been able to access their funds as a result of time-locked transactions.
The adoption of Litecoin on Silk Road 3.1 is likely to be the first time that the cryptocurrency is used in a major dark web setting. Its prime characteristics are what draws the darknet community to the digital currency.
Factors that darknet users favor in digital currencies are a high level of anonymity, low transfer fees and a fast transaction time. Cryptocurrencies with these attributes have the power to replace Bitcoin as the preferred payment option on the dark web.
This is certainly a possibility given that the price of the highly volatile Bitcoin continues to soar due to increases in demand.
These other emerging digital tokens have several pros that Bitcoin does not have, as discussed by some Reddit users. For example, they have a lower price as compared to Bitcoin, and they also offer stronger anonymity.
There’s a famous myth that Bitcoin is wholly untraceable, but this has been proven false time and time again. In fact, law enforcement agencies have been able to trace some transactions to a specific source, leading to the arrest of the individuals associated with darknet markets.
By looking at the most recent Bitcoin trends, it is clear that other coins are proving to be worthy competitors. Some have seen exponential growth over the years and continue to grow in price. A perfect example is Litecoin, which experienced more growth than Bitcoin in 2017.
On one hand, Bitcoin has reduced in value in a very short duration of time. During the last quarter of 2017, this form of digital cash had slightly surpassed the 20,000 USD mark for a short time before it began dropping. Clearly, cryptocurrencies are highly volatile, and one should take caution when trading with them to avoid losses.
At this juncture, only time will tell if Bitcoin will survive the cryptocurrency wave which has seen investments of billions of dollars.
It is clear that with time, more altcoins will gain entry to Tor-based markets, which will see the demand grow with a high spike in prices.
Right now, blockchain technology is still in its early stages as more and more developers continue to study how its algorithms work. And as boom of blockchain innovation continues, developers are likely to take particular aspects into consideration as they build upon their technologies, including transaction time and anonymity.
These issues are crucial in determining the effectiveness and efficiency of altcoins like Monero, Litecoin and Ethereum, which significantly influences how dark web markets like Silk Road 3.1 adopt them.