A recent report from Rand (Research And Development) Corporation, an American non-profit global policy think tank that’s funded by the US government (and private endowment corporations, universities, and private individuals), claims that Bitcoin (BTC), the flagship cryptocurrency, is being used to carry out a relatively large number of dark web transactions.
Rand Corporation’s study looked into the use of privacy-oriented digital currencies, such as Monero (XMR) and Zcash (ZEC), to facilitate dark web transactions.
The Electric Coin Company, the firm behind the development of Zcash, had commissioned the research study, which was published on May 6, 2020.
The report says that Zcash has “only a minor presence on the dark web,” which suggests that it may have been “seen as a less attractive option to dark web users and is used less often compared to other cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin and Monero.”
The report acknowledges that there may be some “indications or anecdotal evidence” that Zcash could have been used or promoted for use in illicit activities.
However, the report claims there is “no evidence of widespread illicit use of Zcash.” It goes on to clarify:
“[The] absence of evidence does not equate to evidence of absence … enduring vigilance against malicious use of this cryptocurrency is nonetheless important.”
Erik Silfversten, an analyst at Rand Europe, says that there wasn’t any “significant” evidence that the Zcash had been used to carry out illicit transactions, however, he admitted that it doesn’t mean that the cryptocurrency isn’t used for illegal activity at all.
“We have to look at technology as a neutral, that it could be used for a wide variety of applications, and then we have to look at the actual evidence.”
In January 2020, Chainalysis, a leading blockchain analytics and cybersecurity firm, reported that it traced $2.8 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) being transferred to criminals via cryptocurrency exchanges in 2019. The company claims that most of these transactions went through Binance and Huobi, two of the world’s largest crypto trading platforms.
Chainalysis’ management noted:
“While exchanges have always been a popular off-ramp for illicit cryptocurrency, they’ve taken in a steadily growing share since the beginning of 2019. Over the course of the entire year, we traced $2.8 billion in Bitcoin that moved from criminal entities to exchanges.”