The Dark Side of Cryptocurrencies
By Anna Allgaier
In an age where everything we do seems to be stored in a database, the idea of having control over who can see our transactions is incredibly appealing. Last January founders, Evan Duffield and Kyle Hagan (now no longer part of the team) took inspiration from this concept and introduced Darkcoin to the digital world. Their goal being, to create “the top privacy-centric crypto-currency” around. This was most definitely accomplished, but at a price.
Just over a year after launching, the digital cash company had to undergo rebranding in a bid to separate themselves from their unwanted association with the Dark Web. Duffield stated that the rebranding of Darkcoin to DASH would “better represent its platform.”
The reason Dash is so appealing to the Dark Web? The Darksend option. Darksend divides users payments into reduced quantities and merges them with the diluted payments of other users. Subsequently, when viewing the Blockchain it isn’t possible to see where the transactions are coming from, or whom they are going to.
The segregation of money and identity through Darksend lays an incredibly convenient foundation for online drug dealers. The transactions are exceedingly difficult for authorities to trace and promises (almost) full anonymity. This is where Bitcoin and Dash differ. All transactions made with Bitcoin can be found on a Blockchain allowing the currency’s movements to be traced if necessary.
It’s not just Dash that’s being exploited in the dark corners of the web. By now we have all seen the coverage on the Silk Road Trial and know that Bitcoin was the reason for its success and its downfall. Through analysing Ross Ulbricht’s chat room conversations and Bitcoin Blockchain, authorities were able to see his requesting and payment of six murders. It was this information that contributed to the decision to disallow Ulbricht bail and, later sentence him to life. What would the outcome of the trial have been had he used Dash? Currently, Bitcoin, Dogecoin and Litecoin are used more frequently by Black Marketers. However, the recent introduction of Dash is most definitely a game changer. As more and more Black Market retailers begin to accept the currency, another layer of sought after anonymity will be added to the Dark Web.
Since the trial, Dash’s popularity has increased and, it’s currently the fifth most popular cryptocurrency on the web with a worth of £1.77> to 1 Dash. Be that as it may, its success and its future may be indebted to a community it wants nothing to do with. Most online marketplaces refuse to accept the currency as a result of its sketchy reputation.
So, what does the future hold for Dash? It would be naïve to think that a simple change in name will change the way in which cartel use it. The perks that come with the currency are most certainly going to continue to be demoralised, and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. Even if it were to shut down altogether, the knowledge would still be out there, and that can’t be revoked. The technology behind it is both genius, and incredibly unfortunate.
Our private i exhibition will take place at 31 New Inn Yard, EC2A 3EY and will be on from Friday 25th – Monday 28th September, 10am – 6pm.