Darknet marketplaces are embracing cryptocurrency obfuscation techniques such as bitcoin mixers at a blistering pace, according to new research by analytics firm Crystal Blockchain.
BitFuryâs intelligence outfit said in its âDarknet Activity Report,â released in May and recirculated Tuesday, that âdarknet entitiesâ sent $67 million with of bitcoin to transaction scrambling mixers in Q1 2020. Thatâs a staggering spike from the $3 million recorded in Q1 2019.
- The rush âindicates a rapid adoption of crypto mixing services by darknet entities,â a clientele Crystal Blockchain notes has had little choice but adapt to the growing prominence of anti-money laundering safeguards on exchanges around the world.
- Indeed, in Q1 2020, darknet marketplaces saw a 29% increase in their bitcoin take from safeguard-heavy exchanges. Thatâs in spite of such markets historically preferring shady exchanges that ask few questions of their users.Â
- Darknet entities may also be using inter-market transfers to hide their crypto tracks, as Crystal Blockchain identified that 19% of the spaceâs Q1âs bitcoin flow passed among separate darknet entities. Thatâs up from 10% in Q1 2019.
- Overall, darknet markets are exchanging more dollar value in bitcoin than at any point since 2017, Crystal Blockchain said, adding, âThese statistics indicate that bitcoin continues to be a financial tool for darknet entities.â
CORRECTION (July 15, 16:13 UTC): BitFuryâs report was originally published in May. It was published a blog post detailing the Q1 activity on Tuesday.
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