The days of Bitcoin’s domination in the Deep Web is over. Why? Because Bitcoin has failed to deliver on a promise, anonymity. Here, first, is an excerpt from a story in Bitcoinist.com about the rise of privacy coins like Monero in the so-called Deep Web:
Many darknet markets have decided to no longer accept Bitcoin as a payment method after concerns of tracking possibilities from law enforcement agencies. Blockchain analysis companies like Chainalysis are now able to track illegal activities like money laundering or drug trading. The article by The Age also reports that darknet markets are not the only ones that use privacy coins for illegal activities. Many ransomware attacks have stopped accepting Bitcoin and only request anonymous coins like Monero.
Many analysts are concerned that companies and law enforcement agencies may target privacy coin users even though they are not involved in any illegal activities. A core developer at Monero, Riccardo Spagni, stated the following regarding these concerns:
As a community, we certainly don’t advocate for Monero’s use by criminals. At the same time if you have a decentralised currency, it’s not like you can prevent someone from using it. I imagine that Monero provides massive advantages for criminals over bitcoin, so they would use Monero.
Many institutions, companies, and law enforcement agencies have tried to track privacy coins without much success. Still, it’s not the fault of these privacy coins if criminals decide to use them. It’s like blaming the dollar bill when someone buys some illegal drugs from a pusher on a street corner.
We have written about the power of anonymity before, in an article called Meet Prometheus’ 21st Century Fire, Anonymity.
In that article, we said, in part:
Make no mistake about it, the greatest threat to the state is anonymity, whether it comes in the form of 3d-printed guns or untraceable cryptocurrency, the states around the world are all united in their commitment to crush any near-semblance of anonymity, and they will make those who help make such a reality even remotely possible a brutal example of their wrath.
Case in point is the political imprisonment of Ross Ulbricht, who is serving not one but TWO life sentences for daring to create a platform that allowed people to exchange anonymously, placing their transactions outside the purview of the ever-demanding, ever-hungry state. In a sense, Ulbricht is a tragic modern-day Prometheus, who, metaphorically, is having his liver picked apart by Eagles, the United “States” of America. But, like Prometheus, the technology he demonstrated cannot be contained. The “secret” of this “fire” cannot be taken back.
While these recent events, and the events to come (as state agents continue to dismantle elements of the dark web) may seem discouraging to many who champion for the emergence of liberty, they are not a reflection of the omnipotence of the state, but rather of the desperation of the state. They are the actions of Zeus after the fact of the revelation of the secret of fire. Tragically, many will be caught up in the snare and will pay a dear price, have already paid a dear price. But they are but a drop in the bucket for the numbers of people the ‘state’ is finding it more and more expensive to track, to destroy.