Many states and regulators are worried that Bitcoin is gaining popularity, especially among criminals, and is becoming increasingly unfounded, according to the latest findings.
Europol’s law enforcement agency, Europol, has come to an interesting realization regarding the use of digital currencies for criminal activity.
Cryptocurrencies have a dubious reputation. Especially for the oldest and most successful representative among the digital tokens, Bitcoin, critics call for regulatory measures to prevent the anonymous use – especially in the criminal milieu. Regulatory authorities around the world already responded and tightened their trade in Bitcoins, or at least under strict scrutiny. Successfully, it seems. Apparently, Bitcoin lost its appeal to (cyber) criminals, Europol told Business Insider. However, this may not be the result of extensive investigations by law enforcement agencies or improved tools to track down criminal activities carried out using cryptocurrencies. Perhaps the reason why Bitcoin is finding less and less use in the criminal environment lies in the concept of the digital token itself.
Bitcoin loses in favor of Altcoins
Activities of Bitcoin users remain less anonymous than critics often say. Each transaction is stored in Bitcoin’s Blockchain, which is publicly available to anyone. And users are completely anonymous in the Bitcoin environment, but rather pseudonyms. Although there is no clear name requirement to deal with Bitcoin, users need a Bitcoin address. This is – including the respective transaction – stored in Blockchain and is therefore understandable for everyone. Although there are methods to smuggle the way of the digital token through different stations and disguise it, but at the latest when converting Bitcoins into real fiat currency, this is complicated and time-consuming.
There are also other factors that hamper the use of Bitcoin in a criminal environment. Cryptocurrency has relatively high transaction costs, and skyrocketing demand has pushed Blockchain to its limits and significantly increased transaction duration.
That is also confirmed by Europol. Because the decreasing appeal of Bitcoin does not mean that criminals would no longer use cryptocurrencies. Not at all. Jarek Jacubcheck, an expert on cybercrime at Europol, told Business Insider: “We see a fairly clear and pronounced shift from Bitcoin to cryptocurrencies, which offers greater levels of privacy They get even bigger data protection and these Altcoins like Monero use unique addresses. There are also Coins like Dash that do not use stealth addresses, these have public addresses but are mixed in a process of the protocol. ”
Especially on Monero , Zcash and Dash have Europe’s law enforcement agency therefore an eye.
Study confirms findings
A recent study also supports findings of Europol. Recorded Future, a US company specializing in cyber threat analysis, has investigated the use of cryptocurrencies in the so-called dark web and came to a similar conclusion: The use of Bitcoin is decreasing in cybercriminal circles, instead Litecoin increased significantly in popularity. Dash experts have also identified the experts as a popular cyber currency in the Dark Web.
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