Europol: Bitcoin is the principal cryptocurrency used in the dark web


  • Bitcoin is predominant in the dark web due to its familiarity within the customer base.
  • Bitcoin is also extensively used in ransomware campaigns.

Bitcoin plays a vital role in the underground economy and is the principal payment method that is used in the dark web. Those seeking to mask their tracks are gradually learning to use privacy-focused alternatives. Europol, in its latest assessment of internet-based organized crime, stated:

“While we have previously reported a small shift towards more privacy-focused cryptocurrencies such as Monero, Bitcoin remains the currency of choice for both legitimate and criminal use.” 

Europol reported that Bitcoin is predominant in the underground economy, notably in dark web markets due to its familiarity within the customer base. Precisely, Bitcoin is extensively used in ransomware campaigns. Europol states that these attacks are the most prominent cybercrime it tackles. 

Hard Fork has previously accounted for many ransomware attacks that demanded Bitcoin to restore encrypted files. Authorities mention that there has been a rapid “pronounced shift” towards the use of more privacy-orientated cryptocurrencies and hopes that the trend is maintained as criminals become more security-aware. Europol said:

“The main developments regarding this trend are on the Darknet [sic] markets, several of which also accept Monero, or in some cases exclusively trade in it.” 

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