Ever since the Silk Road platform came to fruition, Bitcoin seems to become a favourite form of payment across dark web marketplaces. Kripos, the Norwegian Police Service’s specialized agency, is close to concluding their largest operation – dubbed Marco Polo – against a drug ring on the dark web.
The Marco Polo Operation and Bitcoin On The Dark Web
The dark web is attracting all types of Internet criminals these days, and online drug trafficking is just one of the many types of business taking place. A recent sting by Kripos in Norway led to the arrest of fifteen individuals, all of whom were involved in drug trafficking on the dark web. This operation called Marco Polo by law enforcement has been in the works since 2014.
Ever since the Marco Polo operation began, thirteen men and two women have been indicted. In fact, five of these men are suspected of being some of the biggest Norwegian online drug kingpins. If this can be proven in court, bringing down this dark web drug marketplace is a significant notch in the belt of Kripos.
Although there is evidence pointing in the direction of “sizeable amounts of drugs’ being traded through this drug platform, the primary issue for law enforcement officials was to track down the payments. Bitcoin is the most preferred payment method among Internet criminals even though cryptocurrency is far from anonymous. All of the transactions on the Bitcoin network are logged on the blockchain in real-time,
Despite the lack of anonymity in Bitcoin, Chief Investigator Olav Roisli mentioned how the dark web criminals were using “multiple stream stages” put in place to prevent tracking the funds. This seems to indicate various marketplace members went to great lengths to obfuscate the origin and destination of their Bitcoin transactions, by using so-called “mixing” services.
For the time being, Kripos officials are only focusing in dark web marketplace sellers, rather than buyers. That being said, it appears the majority of this particular platform’s customer base is made up of young recreational drug users. Keeping in mind how this particular dark web marketplace was designed not to be found in the first place, it becomes apparent bitcoin is not to blame for facilitating this type of business. After all, consumers still have to provide personal information when buying and selling Bitcoin, removing any shred of anonymity the cryptocurrency may offer.
Note from the Author: None of the news sources name this platform officially, hence we cannot speculate on the name.
What are your thoughts on shutting down this dark web drug marketplace? Will this bring more negative attention to Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!
Source: Dark Web News
Images courtesy of Kripos, Shutterstock