Skip to main content

Litecoin and Dash are fast becoming the go-to currency of the dark web

dark web drug marketplace litecoin litecoin01
BTC Keychain/Flickr
Drug dealers on dark web websites have at least partly moved on from Bitcoin, with many now accepting payment in alternative cryptocurrencies, the so-called, “altcoins.” Although several have become options for those looking to buy illicit substances over Tor-accessible marketplaces, Litecoin has most popular in recent months.

Bitcoin fans have long known about a problem with the cryptocurrency. Its relatively long block time means it doesn’t necessarily scale well with larger numbers of users. Although changes to the cryptocurrency may fix that issue in time, in recent months it lead to massive spikes in transaction costs up to as much as $50, making it hard to use for buying things online — drugs included.

Related Videos

That’s why sellers on dark web marketplaces have begun opting for swifter currencies with much lower fees. Although a few have been proposed by the wider community of buyers and sellers, Recorded Future’s study of dark web currencies found that Litecoin has proved the most popular. By deep diving 150 of the most popular marketplaces and message boards, it found that around 30 percent of vendors now accept Litecoin as a payment option.

Dash is another cryptocurrency that is seeing a big increase in vendor support, with as many as 20 percent of dark web sellers now accepting it on their digital storefronts. Bitcoin Cash was the third-most-popular alternative cryptocurrency available as a payment option, with 13 percent of vendors accepting it.

As much as this marks a big change in options for buyers and sellers, Bitcoin is still accepted by 100 percent of sellers, according to Recorded Future. That may be because transaction fees have come down in recent weeks as some of the end-of-2017 Bitcoin furore has died down and smaller transactions are now being processed.

Whatever the reason Bitcoin continues to be accepted, though, the faster confirmations and lower fees of altcoins will certainly be attractive. Reducing anxiety related to illegal transactions and speedier completion leading to faster delivery are likely to be major plus points for buyers and sellers. Especially since so many dark web markets have been shut down by the authorities over the years.

Recorded Future believes that the growth in altcoin usage will only continue in 2018, leading to other cryptocurrencies than Bitcoin ultimately becoming the more prominent payment methods on dark web markets.

Editors' Recommendations

Your personal data is for sale on the dark web. Here’s how much it costs
padlock on keyboard

Ever wondered how much your personal data could be sold for on the dark web? A recently published report from online privacy and cybersecurity resource VPNOverview seems to answer that question (and others) in depth.

Titled “In the Dark,” the report offers detailed price breakdowns of different kinds of stolen personal information, including financial accounts and cards, social media accounts, bank details, phone numbers, credit histories, passports, drivers licenses, and even access to breached databases. The report also mentions certain websites on the dark web that act as marketplaces for stolen personal information, such as Financial Oasis and PayPal Cent.

Read more
Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web
Fortnite Fly Explosives Guide

Fortnite's V-Bucks, the virtual currency used in the massively popular Battle Royale shooter to purchase outfits, weapons, and other items, are apparently also being used by criminals for money laundering schemes.

Criminals are buying V-Bucks from the official Fortnite store using stolen credit card information. The V-Bucks are then sold in online black markets at discounted rates to "clean" the money, according to an investigation by The Independent and research by cybersecurity firm Sixgill.

Read more
Hackers can purchase government login credentials for cheap on the dark web
turkey blocks tor dark web keyboard key

McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team recently discovered that hackers have access to many organizations that have weak credentials when using Microsoft’s Remote Desktop component in Windows-based systems. Access to these organizations -- whether it’s an airport, a hospital or the U.S. government -- can be bought for little money through specific shops on the dark web.

Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) essentially allows you to connect and use a Windows-based PC from a remote location. When those login credentials are weak, hackers can use brute force attacks to gain the username and password for each connection. McAfee found connections up for sale across various RDP shops on the dark web ranging between a mere 15 to a staggering 40,000 connections.

Read more