The Impact of Cryptocurrency on the “Dark Web”

As the cryptocurrency market expanded and the number of traders and users increased, the opportunity to see and hear the word “dark web” has increased. In this article, I will explain the influence of cryptocurrency on the “Dark Web.”

What is this “Dark Web” anyway?

The Dark Web is a collective term for web content that is part of the deep web and cannot be accessed without an anonymizing tool. Websites on the Dark Web cannot be found from Google or other search engines as Tor browsers are required to find them. Tor technology itself has been developed to exchange confidential information of the US military. It has been handed over as a project to a nonprofit group afterwards, and it has been commonly used as a network means to deter free speech in the communist and dictatorship states. In this way, while the dark web is highly anonymous and excellent in privacy protection, the current situation is that it has been used for illegal transactions by exploiting its characteristics.

The Dark Web and Cryptocurrencies

Cryptocurrency was noticed as a means of payment in the illegal black market that exploited the anonymity of the Dark Web. In the case of bank payments, payment records remain in the bank, and there is risk, but in the case of cryptocurrency, inter-individual payments are possible without going through a third party. Cryptocurrency became a payment venue for criminals who conduct illegal dealings on the dark web as “it is a quick and reliable means of payment without logs,” like handing over cash on the Internet.

The Dark Web and anonymous currencies

As mentioned above, cryptocurrency is gaining attention as a means of payment on the dark web. In the case of usual cryptocurrency, although it represents direct payment between individuals, there is an aspect that it is highly anonymous. As such, anonymous currencies such as Monero, Zcash, and Dash are thought of as being more likely to be used for illegal transactions. Coincheck’s NEM hacking incident and dealings with dark web transactions is fresh in our memories, but after the hacking incident, Coincheck abolished listing of these anonymous currencies. These anonymous currencies are more anonymous compared with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and also provides benefits for safe dealings for criminals as it makes it more difficult to “trace their crimes.”

As you can see, the “Dark Web” seems to be a place where illegal acts are totally unrelated to ourselves, but in reality cryptocurrency has a big influence within it. I think that illegal transactions using cryptocurrency on the dark web will continue to increase more and more, but let’s pay attention to how the investigation system and monitoring system will change accordingly.