In a new 2020 Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment Report, Europol named anonymous cryptocurrencies and privacy wallets “top threats”.
The researchers note that attackers have become much more likely to use hardware wallets to store funds and private keys. In addition, “wallets with privacy features such as CoinJoin have quickly become one of the top security threats, on par with the already developed infrastructure of centralized cryptocurrency mixers.”
Decentralized markets were also identified as a significant threat. Separately, analysts named the OpenBazaar platform, developed by OB1. According to the agency, the platform was downloaded by thousands of Android OS users:
“Criminals have begun to use new privacy-focused market platforms such as OpenBazaar and Particl.io to sell illegal goods.”
OB1 CEO Brian Hoffman said there are filters on the platform to keep illegal items from listing. However, there is no manual filtering of ads.
Researchers have also confirmed that Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency on the darknet due to its great acceptance, reputation and ease of use. However, the use of the anonymous cryptocurrency Monero is gradually gaining popularity.
“Such anonymous cryptocurrencies can become a significant obstacle in the conduct of operational-search activities,” the authors of the report concluded.
In June, Europol representatives already reported that the Wasabi Wallet makes it much more difficult to track illegal transactions – in most cases, the police cannot “demix” them.