Italian Police says more criminals have turned to crypto. Dark web vendors made most sales in 2020 when crypto crimes surged. Criminals prefer cryptocurrencies for its anonymity and hard to track feature.
The Italian Anti-Mafia Directorate (DIA), a department in the country’s Police force, has revealed that several mafia groups and criminal organizations turn to cryptocurrencies for their heinous crimes.
Anonymous sources that spoke in the DIA revealed that beyond the mafia, another criminal gang also have continued to show interest in cryptocurrencies for their business.
The report is corroborated by a published document that covers organized crime in Italy during the first six months of 2020, the most recent report by the police department.
In the report, Ndrangheta, said to be Italy’s most powerful criminal syndicate, continues to develop in its use of technologies like cryptos and the dark web.
DIA also noted that these syndicates use cryptos to anonymously pay for synthetic drugs like Ecstasy or LSD, which demand for it has surged amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, it is not the first time cryptocurrencies and the dark web have been used to facilitate crime.
Vendors in the dark web reportedly made more money than ever before as a result of the pandemic.
Cryptocurrencies, crime, and the dark web
The three pair (Crypto, Crime, Dark Web) with how things are going seem inseparable. A report by chainalysis in 2020 revealed that vendors in the dark web were reducing. However, the traders there were making more money in the heat of the pandemic.
Revenue made in 2020 was more than 2019 totals. However, the overall number of purchases and potential buyers dropped significantly as prices of items skyrocketed in the market.
The increasing revenue was measured with cryptocurrencies that included Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Tether, validating claims by Italy’s Anti-Mafia Directorate.
Why crypto for crime?
In the wake of many online crimes, anonymous cryptocurrencies are the payment method of choice. The ability to hold cryptocurrencies without divulging your identity has made them increasingly attractive to criminals, particularly hackers who demand ransoms after breaking into companies.
Many criminals also have devised several means to perpetuate their crime with its anonymous feature. Criminals undertake what is known as “chain-hopping” jumping between different cryptocurrencies, often in rapid succession to lose trackers or use particular “privacy coin” cryptocurrencies that have extra anonymity built into them, such as Monero.
The difficult to track and anonymous nature of crypto primarily is why criminals turn to it as a safe haven to launder the proceeds of their crime.