Bitcoin transactions on darknet markets jumped 65% in value during the first quarter. The amount of bitcoin sent from darknet entities to mixers also grew rapidly as exchanges with verification requirements became less popular among darknet users.
Crystal Blockchain’s analytics team published on Tuesday an analysis of the use of bitcoin on darknet markets. The researchers wrote, “The amount of money being transferred by darknet entities is still growing, and they are continuing to use bitcoin as a medium of transport,” adding that “The value of the amount of bitcoin transferred (measured in USD) grew by 65% … The mass adoption of bitcoin, as well as its ease of use and popularity, is a contributing factor.”
“If we consider the amounts in USD, we see that darknet entities received and sent an increased amount of money — from $384m in Q1 2019 to $411m in Q1 2020,” the team continued. “This is partly explained by the growing capitalization of bitcoin, as well as further mass adoption of bitcoin. As it becomes increasingly easier to use cryptocurrency, the popularity of this payment method is steadily increasing.”
While the overall transfer value increased, the number of bitcoins transacted through darknet markets actually declined. Darknet entities sent approximately 64,000 BTC and received roughly the same amount in the first quarter of last year. In comparison, they sent 50,000 BTC and received 47,000 BTC in Q1 2020. “These drops in bitcoin received and sent could be due to the growing popularity of altcoin usage by darknet entities,” the team speculated.