Dark web market sites have seen an increase of double the average bitcoin transactions in 2018. Despite the cryptocurrency’s crash early last year, dark web users continue to buy fake IDs or illegal drugs using bitcoin according to data company Chainalysis.
Overall dark web bitcoin transactions declined to $600 million in 2017, down from its $700 million total a year ago. In 2018, the dark web market saw a rise to about $2 million per day, which nearly doubles activity at the end of 2018.
Chainalysis senior economist Kim Grauer revealed that the closure of dark websites AlphaBay and Hansa disrupted the transaction flow during mid-2017. Grauer also states that while law enforcement activity is helping drop the market, it will be misleading to think that it will affect 2018’s volume.
The biggest cryptocurrency available, bitcoin is a well-known payment method on the dark web because it allows anonymity for users trying to make legal or illegal transactions in the darknet market. In 2017, bitcoin rose to popularity to the point where it can be payable for hard currencies like the US dollar. Bitcoin reached a peak of over $20,000 and is currently down over 80 percent of its highest value.
The dip in bitcoin value does not prevent darknet users from purchasing products online, according to Grauer. The Chainalysis economist shares that if people want to buy something from the dark web market, Bitcoin remains the easiest and safest way despite its fluctuating value.
The transaction volume on the darknet will likely decrease this year as law enforcement conducts more activities to shut down the illegal markets.