Despite the ongoing attempts of law enforcement agencies to repel illegal activities on the Internet, the darknet continues to demonstrate a high degree of stability. As stated in the study, the General trend is that the one the authorities closed the site immediately appear other, as, for example, in the case of AlphaBay and Hansa.
These venues were closed in mid-2017, and while immediately after that the volume of bitcoin transactions in the darknet and decreased by 60%, it lasted long. Moreover, at the end of 2017 the volume of transactions was a record of $707 million
However, the most remarkable is the fact that the popularity of illegal markets almost did not affect the market — despite the decline of quotations, the volume of transactions in dollar terms for most part of the 2018 growth coming to the Grand total of $603 million
Today the activity on the darknet is on the rise again – analysts estimate the daily influx of bitcoins for illegal trading platforms in the amount of approximately $2 million However, it is less than 1% of the total economic activity in the network.
Much of the activity has been redirected to another popular marketplace, which is currently dominant in the darknet and at the peak exceeded AlphaBay in its volume four times. It is the Russian marketplace Hydra, which to date has accepted bitcoin for more than $780 million – 14% more than AlphaBay ($690).
Another interesting detail that drew the attention of researchers is the sensitivity of the darknet to the days of the week. So, the greatest influx of cryptocurrency is observed on Fridays and Saturdays, and the peak of withdrawal falls on a Monday.
“This pattern is consistent with what we know about drug trafficking. People buy drugs at the beginning of the weekend when they have more free time on private browsing (it’s not the same as sneaking to go to work at Amazon), and the drug dealers convert cryptocurrency into cash on Monday,” write the authors of the report.
Attempts to combat such illegal marketplaces has brought some success, however, as already noted, much of the demand was transferred to other markets. Moreover, sellers and buyers are developing new methods of communication, including distributed technologies, and encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp. Thus, the operators reduce the risk of closing the whole network owned trading platforms, even in the event of liquidation of one site, the others will continue working.