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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

The criminal underground is ditching Bitcoin for more private cryptocurrencies...

What happened in October 2013 has tarnished Bitcoin's reputation ever since.  The infamous online marketplace "Silk Road" was shut down, and the news that followed was the first time many mainstream news outlets ever mentioned Bitcoin.

There couldn't have been a worse way to introduce Bitcoin to much of the public than articles about people using it to buy everything from drugs to guns.

For the most part, Bitcoin has moved well beyond that.  There's still occasional naysayers who will forever label Bitcoin has a rogue technology for criminals - but these people look more and more ridiculous every day as high profile investors, and Wall Street firms jump into the crypto space.

Rob Wainwright the director of Europol, the EU Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation tweeted today:

"We’ll see a progressive shift in 2018 towards criminal use of cryptocurrencies other than Bitcoin, making it generally more challenging for law enforcement to counter."

Europol says alternative cryptocurrencies that provide more privacy like Monero and ZCash are on the rise. Just a couple weeks ago hackers hijacked over 200,000 WordPress sites, embedding a javascript based miner into them - to mine Monero.

The blockchain transparency that legitimate Bitcoin advocates love are downsides to criminals.  While there's no name attached to a Bitcoin wallet, the path a Bitcoin transaction travels is forever public - meaning eventually if it's going to be spent in the real world - law enforcement can see where.

Monero on the other hand uses encryption to encrypt the users address on its blockchain generating a fake addresses to hide the real one, as well as the transaction amount. Making it impossible to track.

“As a community, we certainly don’t advocate for monero’s use by criminals. At the same time if you have a decentralized currency, it’s not like you can prevent someone from using it. I imagine that monero provides massive advantages for criminals over bitcoin, so they would use monero.” monero core developer Riccardo Spagni told Bloomberg.

Monero went up in value by over 4x in the last quarter of 2017 alone.

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Author: Ross Davis
San Francisco News Desk