Cryptos Under Watch – Financial and law enforcement authorities around the world are definitely not very fond of bitcoin mixing services or so-called „anonymous“ cryptocurrencies. Europol’s services explain that they follow very closely the activities linked to these confidential blockchain transactions.
Mixing bitcoins: a puzzle for investigators
The European police authority Europol has just published a new report entitled „Assessment of the threat posed by organized crime on the Internet“ .
As you might expect, a chapter is devoted to cryptocurrencies , and its title is unequivocal:
“Cryptocurrencies facilitate payments for all forms of cybercrime. “
This sets the tone from the start, and the rest is just as accusing, especially for mixing services that allow bitcoin transactions to be mixed to make them difficult to track:
“(…) Wallets offering privacy protection services using ‚coinjoin‘ concepts (eg Wasabi and Samurai wallets ) have emerged as a major threat, in addition to well-established centralized mixers. “
Bitcoin loses ground on the darknet to anonymous cryptos
Europol recognizes, however, that criminal activities now represent only a tiny fraction of transactions, when compared to legitimate exchanges.
The report thus admits that, while before 2013 “criminal” transactions represented 20% of the total, in 2019 they only represented 1.1% of transactions on blockchains.
Another change noticed by the police service: while the black markets of the Dark Web relied almost exclusively on Bitcoin (BTC) until 2013, the offer has since diversified:
“(…) In recent years the situation has changed. A growing number of markets have understood the advantage of offering several cryptocurrency alternatives, including Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum (ETH), Monero (XMR), Zcash (ZEC), and Dash (DASH). While bitcoin remains the most popular means of payment (mainly for its wide adoption, reputation and ease of use), the use of anonymity-promoting cryptos has increased (…). „
Thus, the top trio of cryptocurrencies more and more popular on the darknet would be, in order, Monero , Zcash and Dash . Europol recognizes that all of these cryptos can „constitute a considerable obstacle to law enforcement investigations“ .