A recent cybercrime threat report released by the European law enforcement agency Europol suggests that the dark web prefers Bitcoin over any other currency, despite the fact that Bitcoin scams remain most vulnerable to detection.
If the dark web is the Amazon of illicit items, then Bitcoin is the driving force behind it. The breeding ground of illegal activities offers everything under the sun, from hacked subscription credentials, prepaid cards to guns, drugs, and fake money, and Bitcoin remains the most preferred mode of payment, owing to its popularity and awareness surrounding it. And while the darknet criminals are always on the lookout for ways to circumvent the law enforcement, it cannot seem to do away with the crypto king.
Europol is Europe’s backbone of law enforcement operations and an information resource of criminal activities. The Netherlands-based agency is committed to tackling cyber terrorism and attacks, among many other forms of illegal activities.
Bitcoin named as currency of the dark web
In its latest report entitled ‘Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2019’, darknet criminals prefer to transact in Bitcoin even though using privacy-focused coins such as Monero may bring more security. The report cites that although the recent months have witnessed a noticeable shift from Bitcoin to privacy-oriented currencies, a large portion of the dark web still needs Bitcoin as the fuel to keep itself running.
The shift from Bitcoin to privacy-centered coins, although gradual, is imminent as criminals continue to be more circumspect than ever, the report states. Thus, Bitcoin’s reputation as the currency of the dark web could be short-lived.
Europol also estimates that over one billion dollars ($1 billion) worth of cryptocurrency has flown into the dark web so far and that Bitcoin phishing emails and ransomware attacks are the most popular forms of cybercrimes that rake in the much-needed capital for its survival.
Law and crypto businesses must join forces, report
According to the report, the global acceptance of virtual currencies coupled with growing advances in the field of artificial intelligence is making darknet sources a primary means of securing illegal goods.
Thus, as a recommendation, it proposes that law enforcement agencies, together with the judiciary, must collaborate to tackle, curtail, and raise awareness regarding identifying and tracking unauthorized transactions.
It adds that only when the law closely works with cryptocurrency-related businesses to understand the nature and scope of the activities involved, it can better resolve issues concerning money laundering and organized crimes.