Bitcoin and the black market – scandals, intrigues, investigations

Many ordinary users and authorities rightly believe that bitcoin is a wonderful tool for all those involved in black market operations. After all, this cryptocurrency is a full-fledged embodiment of the dream of enterprising people to achieve their own goals. It is anonymous, it implies almost complete concealment of information about the participant in the system, allows you to transfer funds instantly.

At the very beginning of its existence, bitcoin became widespread among all kinds of dark markets and only then began to move into the legal economy. However, such participation in “dirty” projects has done a good service for online currency: it has achieved considerable popularity, and its rate has grown significantly.

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During 2014-2015, a series of interesting studies were conducted, during which it was found that every day the average turnover of funds in the shadow market reaches half a million dollars. Of course, there are peaks of 700 thousand, but they are rare. If we take the value of 500 thousand, it turns out that in a year it reaches almost 180 million dollars. At the same time, bitcoin accounts for about half of the payments made at such sites.

Why is bitcoin used in the black market?

  • Anonymity. Information about each specific participant in the system is encrypted. This allows users to remain unrecognized in front of employees of special departments.
  • Originality. It is impossible to access shadow resources using a regular browser. To do this, you need to use special software like Tor. This significantly complicates the search for cybercriminals for intelligence agents.
  • Weak security infrastructure. Many people cannot get used to the fact that numerous promises of services and assurances of complete safety can be at best half-false. They are nonchalant about funds stored on their Internet accounts, which increases criminal activity.

Specific cases

In 2013, the first scandal occurred related to the use of this cryptocurrency for criminal purposes. Then the popular Bitcoin market Silkroad was closed, and Ross Ulbricht, its founder, and ideologist was imprisoned in the United States on charges of drug trafficking. This event gave rise to doubts in the governments of many countries regarding the legality of the circulation of this Internet currency.

Soon, the heir of the previous market, the Silkroad 2.0 project, as well as the Evolution market, developed on the network. However, these followers ordered a long life: their functioning lasted for one year, and then it was quickly covered by FBI officers due to the fact that the creators took the cash desk and hid in an unknown direction. The loudest in effect was the closure of the Sheep Marketplace. Its founder withdrew about $ 40 million from the resource.

However, even after such high-profile scandals, the number of users who sincerely believe in the reliability of dark markets did not decrease. For example, DarkNet, Darkleaks, and other resources live and live today.

A lot in this area were robberies. So, MtGox, a well-known virtual exchange, was crashed as a result of a hacker attack in mid-2011. The next time, hackers did commit the crime of the century by stealing about $ 480 million from this resource in 2014. Last year, the Bter cryptocurrency exchange suffered similar attacks, which led to its fall.

Interestingly, BTC is also actively used by “air sellers” – builders of financial structures in the virtual space. An example is the history of the MyCoin pseudo-exchange, which has positioned itself as a serious and reliable resource for professional exchanges. Like other similar projects, this resource promised huge profits and a payback of several months. No matter how the special services employees blew their pipes, many users were led by the fraudsters and invested several million dollars in the Internet project. In early 2015, criminals took the jackpot and disappeared.


Some experts believe that in the near future, many shadow structures and projects will have to abandon bitcoin as a means of payment. On the one hand, the time comes for the legal recognition of this currency by many states. This type of Internet money will have to get out of the shadows and obey the legal conditions of circulation.

Secondly, many virtual societies impose their own restrictions on conducting transactions. Users who are interested in the honesty and reliability of transactions do not want to fall for the bait of enterprising businessmen.

Thirdly, new innovative ways of tracking money transfers are being created. They effectively suppress criminal activity, which is not at all in the hands of many virtual shadow markets.

Already today, on an amateur initiative, numerous white and blacklists of operations created with cryptocurrencies are being created. This can mean both the beginning of the end of dark markets and the search for new opportunities for criminal operations.

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