As pundits continue to weigh in on how criminals are using Bitcoin to fund their illegal activities, a new report suggests that the bad guys see the crypto as so yesterday.
Criminals have moved on to other cryptos to carry out their illegal deeds. According to Recorded Futures, criminals are seeing the same problems with Bitcoin as do honest people. Between the high fees to process transactions, and the slow transaction speed, criminals are falling out of favor with the crypto space’s leader.
Here, we’ll discuss how criminals have switched gears.
Bitcoin’s so yesterday
Recorded Futures conducted an extensive analysis on 150 of the most prominent message boards, marketplaces, and illicit services. The goal of the effort was to understand and anticipate any upcoming shift in the next six to 12 months.
In the report, Recorded Futures noted that criminals began voicing their dissatisfaction with the performance and cost of initiating Bitcoin transactions in 2016. While Recorded Futures initially thought that Dash would become the next major dark web currency, that was proven to not be the case.
To its surprise, as well to the surprise of others, Recorded Futures found that Litecoin is surpassing other cryptocurrencies in preference, and is currently the second most dominant coin on the dark web, followed by Dash.
Here’s a chart breaking down crypto use on the dark web.
The criminals speak
In putting together its findings, Recorded Future scoured message boards for comments from those who have fallen out of favor with Bitcoin.
Here are some of the messages that stood out to the researchers. This one is from one is from someone Recorded Future calls “one of the oldest and most respected members of the Russian hacking world.”
“Do not reinvent the wheel — just look where the Bitcoin came from. It came from a darknet, and the U.S. members are gradually migrating to Dash, while those in Europe have moved to Monero.”
Another active member supported that logic:
“As a rule, whatever is used by the drug dealers will become a mainstream currency, and they have been actively switching to Dash. There are not so many carders, as there are junkies.”
While Bitcoin may not be as much of a fan favorite for illegal activities as it used to, don’t count it out yet. Recorded Future’s researchers see Bitcoin as still having a place in criminals’ toolboxes.
“…contrary to a widespread assumption that criminals are abandoning Bitcoin altogether, we are convinced it will remain one of the main payment instruments, albeit with a significantly smaller market share.”