The rise in numbers is a product of Bitcoin’s increasing popularity surge, the study notes.
The use of Bitcoin mixers for transactions on the Darknet has grown considerably, according to a recent study that the cryptocurrency unit of the Bitfury firm, Crystal Blockchain, conducted.
According to the report, Crystal Blockchain revealed that, during the last quarter of the year, the increase in this type of transaction has reached 20% more than in previous months. This represents a significant increase when compared with figures from the first quarter of 2019, which only reached 1%.
In the opposite case, the Bitcoins sent to the known exchange houses to be verified decreased almost at the same rate. This category registered a fall of 13% in this first quarter of 2020. However, when compared with figures from 2019, it does not represent higher numbers. In 2019, 24% of Bitcoins were not verified at exchange houses.
The document highlights that these numbers are only a common response to recent actions by regulators and exchange houses in many of the countries with the highest volume of exchange. “This is likely in response to increased regulation and verification processes for exchanges, leading darknet bitcoin owners toward other services to obfuscate the source of their coins”.
According to the report, the so-called “Bitcoin mixers” are payments that different users executed and registered in a single operation. This makes it difficult to track users’ personal information, increasing security, and privacy.
The network recorded a volume of approximately 7,946 BTC in shipments for Bitcoin Mixers on the Darknet in the first quarter of 2020. This data represents a big difference from last year. During the same period of the year, but in 2019, the network registered only 790 BTC. If calculated in United States dollars, in 2019, the 790 BTC represented around USD 3 million; thus, in current figures, taking into account the value of the asset in the market, the amount of 7,946 BTC represents about USD 67 million.
On the other hand, the amount of BTC that the entities of the Darknet received for the services of Bitcoin Mixers, almost tripled in a year. In this first quarter of 2020, the network registered 288 BTC, while the figure reached 106 BTC in 2019. These amounts represent a total of USD 2 million, and USD 400,000, respectively.
The report noted that as more and more money exchange houses are complying with the recommendations of the International Financial Action Task Force (FATF), users are looking for alternatives to keep their operations as private as possible.
“While more exchange houses implement the requirements of the FATF (International Financial Action Task Force), users of the darknet are trying to avoid the risks of disclosing their activity in these exchange houses. To hide the activities within the darknet, they began to prefer the services of mixers instead of exchange houses for the withdrawal of cryptocurrencies”.
The report concluded ensuring that, compared with the year 2019, the levels of Bitcoin adoption in 2020 have increased dramatically, as well as its capitalization, use, and popularity.
By María Rodríguez