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Crypto Payments on Darknet Markets Doubled for First Time Since 2015

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The volume of cryptocurrency flows coming on darknet markets have doubled for the first time in four years, a new study says.

In part of its 2020 Crypto Crime Report published on Jan. 28, Chainalysis — a New York-based blockchain analytics firm — found that darknet markets have significantly increased their share of total incoming crypto transactions in 2019, doubling from 0.04% in 2018 to 0.08%.

Crypto on darknets is resilient to scrutiny by law enforcement

According to the study, total market sales in crypto grew 70% in 2019 to account for more than $790 million worth of cryptocurrency after seeing a small decline in 2018. This was the first time when sales surpassed $600 million, Chainalysis says.

Despite the total share of crypto payments on the darknet remaining quite low, the recent growth of volumes indicates the resilience of darknet markets to increased legal scrutiny from global regulators, Chainalysis believes. According to the firm, the total number of active darknet markets remained stable in recent years despite heightened law enforcement.

Specifically, the study suggested that as some markets close, others still manage to fill the gap and satisfy client demand. While eight of the markets active in 2018 were shut down in 2019, eight new ones opened up that same year, keeping the total number of active markets worldwide at a steady 49.


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