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The ‘Dark Web’ is Small, Illicit Bitcoin Transactions are Smaller

2 mins
Updated by Adam James
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According to an analysis by Recorded Future, only one percent of the entire internet is the so-called ‘dark web.’ Similarly, in 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency found, that out of all of the economic activity on these hidden corners of the web, Bitcoin (BTC) made up only around 10 percent of transactions.
The Dark Web is made out to be this vast and frightening underbelly of the internet where illicit dealings are constantly being made. However, the reality is that the Dark Web is quite small. According to a newly-released analysis by Recorded Future, the Dark Web makes up around one percent of the entire world wide web. The firm analyzed some 260,000 onion pages in its study. cryptocurrency hacker

Dark Web Statistics

Despite the Dark Web being smaller than expected, it still has vast influence. Some of the conclusions by Recorded Future include:
  • Estimates indicate that 620M stolen accounts are for sale on the Dark Web.
  • 35M voter records have been sold.
  • Most Dark Web sites are disorganized, often go offline, and are full of scams.
  • Bitcoin is dropping in popularity on dark web markets.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, ‘criminal activity’ was estimated to make up around 90 percent of Bitcoin’s transactional activity in 2013. The agency released an updated report in August 2018 which found that this number had plummeted to just 10 percent. Chainalysis has disputed this even further and estimates that the number is even lower — closer to only one percent of all BTC transactions. In fact, if all darknet markets were lumped together as an exchange-listed on Coinmarketcap, it would not even break the top 100 cryptocurrency exchanges by volume.

Bitcoin Still Crypto-Crime Leader

Bitcoin is still involved in the vast majority of cryptocurrency-related crimes. According to Chainalysis, about 95 percent of all crypto-currency related crimes involve Bitcoin in some way. The research firm also estimated the value of Bitcoin transactions on darknet markets to have increased by 70 percent in 2018. Although Bitcoin is still the cryptocurrency of choice for cybercriminals, it is making up a smaller and smaller proportion of overall transactional activity. Recorded Future estimates that Bitcoin will no longer be the most popular cryptocurrency on the darknet within one year. In fact, that title may soon go to Litecoin (LTC) — which is now also accepted by 30 percent of all dark web vendors. In short, the darknet markets are shrinking and Bitcoin is becoming less and less relevant to its secret dealings. Overall, it’s a sign that Bitcoin is coming out of the dark and into the mainstream. Do you believe Bitcoin will be replaced on darknet markets by another cryptocurrency? Which do you think it will be? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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Anton Lucian
Raised in the U.S, Lucian graduated with a BA in economic history. An accomplished freelance journalist, he specializes in writing about the cryptocurrency space and the digital...