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Cryptocurrency Facilitating Online Drug Crimes

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How significant is darknet in the criminal drug trade?

Of course, we are all baffled at the spontaneous pace at which cryptocurrency has grown. From price to popularity, and all the way to adoption, cryptocurrency is smashing boundaries at an astonishing pace. By January this year, the total market capitalization for Bitcoin (BTC) alone spiked to a humongous $250B USD. Isn’t that amazing?

Furthermore, oceans of online cryptocurrency exchanges boast $250B USD as their approximate daily dollar volume. More than 160 cryptocurrency funds have popped up energetically. The cryptocurrency funds here are hedge funds that invest just in cryptocurrency. You would be shocked to learn that such cryptocurrency funds already attract over $2B USD in asset management.

Evolving Crimes in the Face of Cryptocurrency Growth

Surely, crime is constantly evolving. Simply put, crime is all about seeking shortcuts, and people will never stop seeking them. Criminals are always brainstorming and scouring what modern measures to deploy in order to bypass law enforcement agents. Sadly, cryptocurrency has proven a luscious instrument to finance their lifestyles and dark operations.

The “darknet”, among other things, refers to encrypted illegal trading on the internet. Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies facilitate these trades on the darknet. Particularly, drug crimes and opioid distribution are on the rise in this digital underworld. This is because cryptocurrency presents a safe passage of funds between transacting parties. Fentanyl, marijuana, cocaine, are just a few illegal substances vigorously pumped around the dark web via cryptocurrency payments. However, is this anything extraordinary?

Is Cryptocurrency Fueling Drug Crimes?

In the first place, authorities struggle to provide a robust regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. Therefore, in face of the lack of stringent regulations surrounding cryptocurrency, there exists a sort of “Internet anarchy”, which drug criminals are ravenously exploiting. In addition to this, the relative anonymity of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies doesn’t help in curtailing these trends.

For example, while the transactions carried out in Bitcoin are public, the ownership of Bitcoin is not that open. You don’t need to provide your personal details when signing up for a digital wallet. This veil of concealment provides the hideous infrastructure for online drug peddlers to perpetuate their illicit transactions using cryptocurrency.

Law Enforcement Measures

Law enforcement agents are basically crippled in combating the criminal abuse of cryptocurrency. Lack of regulation and decentralization pose major barriers to implementing effective measures. Of late, the FBI managed to pull off a successful clamp down on the infamous, “Silk Road”. The Silk Road was a notorious ring of crime on the darknet. In this clampdown, the FBI seized more than $4M USD worth of bitcoins.

Nevertheless, we must view this as just a drop in the bucket when it comes to fighting the use of cryptocurrency in facilitating drug crimes.


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