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Bitcoin Criminals Set to Spend $1 Billion on Dark Web This Year

  • Year-to-date spending reached $515 million, Chainalysis says
  • Proportion of Bitcoin used for illicit purchases is declining
Building Russia's Mobile Virtual Currency Mining Farms
Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

Bitcoin’s use in illegal online marketplaces peddling everything from drugs to child porn is on pace to set a record this year at more than $1 billion, according to a report by Chainalysis.

While the proportion of Bitcoin transactions dedicated to illegal purchases is declining, about $515 million of the digital coin has already been spent this year on the so-called dark web, according to the firm, which helps companies such as cryptocurrency exchanges investigate and prevent illegal transactions. Dark-net spending in Bitcoin peaked in 2017, at $872 million, and declined last year as the coin’s price took a dramatic dive.