Bitcoin’s popularity and snowball effect may have attracted many investors to the crypto space, but the subsequent delays and transaction fee hikes has upset one group of long-time users: criminals. They’re now looking for faster and cheaper alternatives like Litecoin and Dash.
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As reported by Bloomberg, darknet cybercriminals have opted for other cryptocurrencies, pushing bitcoin aside. Recorded Future, a cybersecurity firm, surveyed 150 of active message boards (like 4chan) and darknet marketplaces to find the most popular cryptocurrencies on the darknet. Surprisingly, Litecoin is the second most popular digital currency on darknet markets.
Survey report authors Andrei Barysevich and Alenxandr Solad stated, “Litecoin and Dash will take their place next to Bitcoin as the everyday payment currencies of the dark web.”
Why Some Criminals Prefer Altcoins to Bitcoin
As per the Recorded Future survey, bitcoin is still the most accepted cryptocurrency on the darknet. However, Litecoin is tailing closely to gain the top spot — to be the currency of the dark web.
Cybercriminals are looking for bitcoin alternatives that can provide more value for money. The study indicated that over 30 percent of all dark web traders now accept litecoin — the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.
The survey pointed out preferences based on geographic locations. As per the survey, Russians preferred Litecoin and Dash while English speakers opted for Monero due to a preference for its security model.
The logical reason for the shift from BTC is Litecoin’s low transaction fees and quicker fund transfer. Dash, the 12th largest cryptocurrency by market cap, assures instant and (optionally) private payments and is another alternative. Along with Litecoin and Dash, cryptocurrencies like Monero, ETH and Bitcoin Cash are also gaining interest as substitutes to Bitcoin.
Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group, refuted the survey’s claims saying:
“The Dash network is not aware of a single darknet market that uses Dash on its platform. We believe it is an absurd assertion that the report concluded that 20 percent of vendors accept Dash for darknet transactions. Numerous publicly available reports, even with Tor and VPN assisted searches, have indicated no adoption of Dash as an alternative payment method for these transactions.”
Two dark net markets that have adopted for Monero are Toochka and Aero. Libertas is another market that only accepts payments in Monero.
Bitcoin Not as Great for Crime as You’d Think
The birth of cryptocurrencies offered cybercriminals an alternative way to move huge amounts of money digitally, without leaving the kind of traces forced by the mainstream financial network. The semi-anonymous nature of Bitcoin made it popular among wrongdoers soon after its initiation — and in doing so, proved its utility and security to the rest of the world too.
The now-defunct Silk Road — an online darknet marketplace on the Tor network, started accepting BTC which in return provided a relatively safe haven for criminals from law enforcement agencies. It wasn’t just site users who saw the appeal — even two of the federal agents investigating the case saw an opportunity, stealing millions of dollars worth of BTC.
In recent times, Bitcoin’s growth has led to network congestion and high transaction fees. However, it is never short of notable investors that have shown confidence in the most popular cryptocurrency for mainstream use. Recently, Silicon Valley venture capitalist Tim Draper said that Bitcoin will dominate the world.
Will Litecoin outclass Bitcoin for everyday payments in the future? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.
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