Business

Derek Tonin

BTC the currency of choice for cybercriminals

If you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft, there’s a very good chance that someone was paid in Segwitcoin (BTC) for your data. This somewhat unsurprising news comes from the 2019 Black Market Report, published by Armor, which indicates that 46% of all BTC transactions are payments for cybercrime services.

As a whole, the Black Market report reveals many surprising details about cybercrime and the black market of the internet, including how cheap it can be to hire a hackers services. For just $100, you can get a cloned Credit Card worth $2,000. For just over $300, you can pay to ruin someone’s credit history.

But hackers need to get paid, and as Armor indicates, they mostly want to be paid in BTC:

Today, less than 1% of the world’s population owns or transacts in Bitcoin. However, one 2018 study by the University of Sydney stated $76 billion annually, or 46% of Bitcoin transactions, is involved in cybercrime.

As a tech security firm, Armor isn’t confusing terminology either. This isn’t $76 billion in all cryptos combined, this is specifically a BTC marketplace, and the hackers prefer it that way. “While a number of cryptocurrencies have been introduced with enhanced anonymity features such as Monero, Dash, and ZCash, Bitcoin remains the most trusted and most valuable choice in dark markets,” they write.

While the BTC blockchain keeps a record of all transactions, they note that these criminals still prefer using it over fiat marketplaces due to the various methods they can use to obscure their identity, and the lack of personal information required by off-ramps, a problem that continues to plague crypto exchanges due to a lack of regulation from governments.

It’s a problem that looks like it may be solved swiftly though. Leading crypto countries like Japan are starting to demand more stringent crypto regulations, a move which many expect will be followed by other countries as they start to catch on to the needs of the space.

If exchanges must increasingly meet the same regulatory demands as traditional financial institutions, there’s a solid chance BTC volume will drop off as hackers could no longer rely on it. That could be yet another problem in BTC’s near future.

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