Brisbane Woman Charged With Drug Purchases From The UK Using Bitcoin
It would be extremely unwise to think that one can entirely evade authorities by shopping on the dark web using cryptocurrencies, in this case, bitcoin. This is exactly what a 32-year-old woman from Brisbane found out when the Australian Border Force (ABF) and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) came knocking at her doors in February 2018. This started from around end December 2017 when the ABF detected a little of MDMA (Ecstasy/Molly) in a parcel from the United Kingdom to a Brisbane address. In early January 2018, the ABF picked up again on the same Brisbane address, this time fentanyl, considered deadlier than heroin from the UK. Unknown quantities of drugs were shortly seized and the Brisbane woman faces up to 15 counts of charges related to drugs in court.
Not A Novel Trick
Back in 2014, Australian authorities had confiscated up to 24,518 bitcoins in purchases related to drugs. These coins were worth just under USD$10 million then but in today’s exchange, just under USD$200 million. It has been auctioned off from three bitcoin wallets belonging to drug dealers. ABF Queensland regional commander Terry Price reaffirms that authorities in both Australia and the UK are constantly watching the activities on the darkweb including drug trade, child pornography, extremist activities, and weapon trade. In fact a team of intelligence analyst was formed last year by the ABF for such reasons. Prominent darknet traders who accept cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and monero are in their watch list.
A Love And Hate Affair
Bitcoin has long been the favorite amongst the underworld with its phenomenal rise in value, popularity, and the ease in stealing it! As far back as 2014, 730,000 bitcoins, which amounts up to $500 million, has become unaccountable for through cyber-ransom payments, hacking, and theft along with other such appalling activities. This amount will double if indeed cybercriminals are accountable for the collapse of Mt. Gox. However, the popularity of bitcoin does come with its downside. Bitcoin is also increasingly being seen as volatile as well as being able to be confiscated and also stolen. While the technology behind bitcoin is solid, the exchanges that hold the bitcoins are vulnerable to attacks with thousands of viruses designed to do so being released all the time.
Propelling The Rise Of Monero
As such alt-coins like Monero are increasingly rising in popularity due to its privacy centric design that avoids tracking. Launched in 2014, monero encrypts both the sender and recipient’s address and transaction amount on its blockchain. Compared with bitcoin that records the same information on its blockchain, specialists can eventually decipher the information in order to nab perpetrators. Some says that the inevitable price to pay for any disruptive technology is that it will first be utilized by the likes of the underworld before rising above that.