Another Bitcoin Black Market Trade Hits The News
There are still many people who only associate Bitcoin with the black market and nefarious activities after the Silk Road scandal. Mention Bitcoin and they will immediately tell you that its about criminals, with little willingness to hear anything else. Despite the efforts of the Bitcoin community to clean up the cryptocurrency image, every now and then another story makes the headlines that serves to give credibility to the beliefs of these Bitcoin doubters.
Two such incidents have recently occurred – one with a gun and another with a poison. However, many people who feel that this validation of the misconception that Bitcoin goes hand-in-hand with crime, fail to understand that any other legal tender could have been utilized in these transactions. Even if some governments do not see Bitcoin as legal tender, the fact is that it has value and is utilized as a form of payment.
Black Market Websites And Bitcoin
Silk Road, the black market website where everything from drugs and guns were traded to assassins for hire, was shutdown by US authorities in late 2013. The founder is facing prosecution. But it was not the only black market website to be operating online and there are many still in existence. More importantly, its demise was not the end of black market activities online just like how the fall of a crime boss does not bring crime to an end.
While Silk Road’s notorious reign has finished, another such website seems to be making headlines of late. Known as Black Market Reloaded, the website is hosted on the Tor network which allows founders of these digital properties to maintain anonymity. The network has a reputation for being very secure for both websites and its users and is therefore a popular spot for black market websites.
Unfortunately, Bitcoin seems to be taking the flack in these incidents. The Bitcoin system allows for anonymity and without a central authority regulating transactions, Bitcoin can be used as tender to purchase dubious products and services. Therefore it is popular on these black market websites but it should not detract from the fact that black market goods and services are a separate issue from Bitcoin.
Crimes Making The News
Black Market Reloaded has been in the Bitcoin news several times over the past few months. In November 2013, a 38 year old New Hampshire man was arrested for selling guns without a license and was also to be prosecuted for smuggling and money laundering. Last week a 19 year old Florida man was arrested for stockpiling and selling a natural poison known as abrin. Both sales occurred on Black Market Reloaded and Bitcoin was used for payment.
Just a few days back, a 25 year old US citizen was arrested for allegedly committing an illegal gun sale to Dutch law enforcement officers. Bitcoin was also used for payment and the sale occurred on an unidentified black market website also on the Tor network. These are just some of the incidents that make the news these days and has anti-Bitcoiners nodding their heads knowingly.
The media has also played a part in creating misconceptions. The focus should be on the crime and placed where it occurred rather than on the form of payment. But with Bitcoin being such a hot topic, it seems more newsworthy to spin the story from the cryptocurrency perspective.