For anyone familiar with the dark net markets on the Deep Web, exit scams – the sudden disappearance of a market’s website and forum without any legitimate explanation, along with the bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency held in escrow, such as a hacking, DDoS attack, or seizure by law enforcement – are a risk one takes when participating in an online marketplace run by anonymous people selling contraband products and services.
It’s an environment where best practices include using TOR to access the websites, a VPN to secure data, IP address and location, PGP to encrypt and decrypt messages. Some see an opportunity to gain experience with an aspect of putting a cryptocurrency under very challenging circumstances, participating in the kind of hardcore field-testing that lends itself to more conventional, legitimate day to day use.
When the Silk Road marketplace was shut down twice and the bitcoin seized was placed up for auction by the United States Marshals, there were many who were under the mistaken assumption that bitcoin was mainly used for transactions in illicit products and services. The reality showed that such transactions were only a small percentage (not more than about 3%) of what people were spending bitcoin on.
Monero has a number of features that made it attractive to be used by dark net markets, like Alpha Bay and Oasis, as opposed to bitcoin, such as greater privacy of transactions history by design.
The announcement of their use of Monero alongside or instead of bitcoin resulted in the increase of the exchange rate and got more people interested in Monero for the first time.
It’s believed that the recent drop in the exchange rate has more to do with some people’s reaction to the sudden disappearance of the Oasis website, speculation on the buying up of large amounts of the cryptocurrency before the announcement of it’s use by Oasis and Alpha Bay, along with the loss of a reported 150 BTC and an uncertain amount of XMR.
For those who have greater knowledge and appreciation of the features of Monero, or have more experience in currency speculation and are skilled in reading a candlestick chart, what’s happened with Oasis and Alpha bay has much less of an effect on their perception and use of the cryptocurrency.
Featured image from iStock.