Monero usage rises 40% and everything points to dark markets

Monero (XMR) transactions have risen by more than 40% over the course of the last year, in growth that could be linked to increased use of cryptocurrencies in dark web markets or darknet.

According to Coin Metrics statistics the number of monero transactions went from 7,308 on July 6, 2019, to 10,630 on July 5, 2020. This increase has been constant over the last 12 months, with a maximum of 14,073 transactions registered on July 2 of this year (a growth of almost 100%).

This is a sustained trend in the last two years, according to commented on the subreddit Monero official, where the XMR team points out that this advance would indicate a steady increase in the use of monero for business transactions. A fact that they qualify as “particularly significant”, as it occurs during a period in which the market oscillates between falling and stable prices.

In this sense, the data from bitinfocharts.com shows the growth of transactions since the creation of Monero, in 2014. The transactions graph shows the constant increase in transactions in recent years. The number of operations has been doubling year after year, especially since 2016, with a significant increase in 2019.

The historical maximum is recorded in May 2019, when the number of transactions was 15,325, after having started that year with 4,732 transactions. By January 2020, the number of transactions already exceeded 8,000.

Monero’s track record shows sustained growth in the number of transactions since 2014. Source: bitinfocharts.com

The data on the increase in transactions of XMR, a cryptocurrency characterized by privacy, could be extrapolated with the results of various reports that report the increase in cryptocurrency transactions in dark web markets since 2019.

CriptoNoticias published in January the results of a Chainalysis investigation on economic activity in the darknet last year. Analysts concluded that cryptocurrency transactions in those markets went from 0.4% in 2018 to 0.8% in 2019.

He reached a similar conclusion a study conducted in May 2020 by Crystal Blockchain Analytics. The analysis platform, created by the Bitfury Group, observed that the total value of BTC mobilized through the dark web has increased by 65% ​​in the last 12 months and 340% in the last 36 months.

However, also identified a decrease in the amount of BTC used in the markets of the darknet, a trend that relates to an increase in the use of altcoins by dark web operators.

On this subject, CriptoNoticias reported in October 2019 a report by The Block Research that indicated that bitcoin, monero and litecoin are the most used cryptocurrencies by the dark web markets.

The advance of Monero on the dark web

For the Crystal Blockchain Analytics team, as countries apply stricter regulations and exchanges use more verification processes, shadow market operators are forced to turn to less regulated cryptocurrencies.

Monero emerges as one of the main options for these markets, by having improved privacy, and offering users a level of anonymity that helps to hide the origin of transactions, as well as being cheaper.

An example of the increased use of monero in dark markets is the recent update of an entry on the news website of the armed group ISIS, known as the Islamic State. The publication notes that at the time of accepting donations they would have gone from bitcoin to monero.

In its update, the armed group explains that the change is due to the fact that monero is “safe and its steps cannot be fully traced to the blockchain.”

They add that the cryptocurrency promotes total anonymity among its donors, something that they cannot guarantee with bitcoin. This fact was recognized by the European Police Office (Europol), who have stated in several seminars that the use of the Tor browser, in conjunction with monero, has made the task of tracking both funds and intellectual crime actors impossible.

A decision similar to that of ISIS was made by the operators of the ransomware Sodinokibi, who communicated their preference for monero last April – also as a way to avoid tracking transactions. Even they make 10% surcharges to those who pay the ransoms with bitcoin. Because of this, security expert Lawrence Abrams predicted at the time that monero could become the preferred means of payment for groups that attack with ransomware.

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Monero usage rises 40% and everything points to dark markets

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