The first quarter of 2020 closed with a 65% increase in bitcoin trading volumes on the dark web, compared to the first quarter of last year.
This was revealed by a recent report by Crystal Blockchain, focused on the use of bitcoin by entities operating on the darknet or through mixers.
In reality, it was a lower number of BTC, but a higher volume in their counter value in US dollars.
In fact, the total amount received by the darknet entities decreased from 64,000 BTC in Q1 2019 to 47,000 BTC in Q1 2020, and the total amount sent by the darknet entities decreased from 64,000 BTC to 50,000 BTC.
However, taking into account volumes in USD, it went from $384 million to $411 million.
The report explains that the cause is not only to be found in the increase in the value of bitcoin in dollars, but it is a process of mass adoption of bitcoin as a means of value transfer, thanks to greater ease and the increasing popularity of BTC.
In addition, the average amount of transactions to exchanges has decreased and this seems to indicate a reduction in the use for criminal activities or within darknets, in favour of anonymization services such as mixers.
Crypto on the dark web
The volume of bitcoin sent between entities operating in darknets has also increased, but the explanation could lie in the fact that darknet users may be using these transactions to hide their bitcoin flow within the darknets.
In light of this data, Crystal Blockchain concludes that bitcoin continues to be a financial tool used by entities operating on darknets, in particular for the online sale of drugs or other illicit goods.
There is a real battle going on between exchanges, which are trying to identify these dubiously sourced BTC, and users operating on darknets who are trying to avoid being recognized.
In particular, the latter have begun to prefer mixer services to cashout exchanges.
Crystal Blockchain reveals that thanks to special analytical tools, these activities are relatively easy to identify and monitor, all the while the increasingly stringent regulations issued by the FATF and the European Union are playing an obvious role in the fight against these illegal activities.