A new method of exchanging bitcoin for cash has emerged on the dark web. Several English and Russian dark markets are claiming that users can pay as little as $800 in BTC funds and receive $10,000 USD.
Exchanging BTC for Cash Illegally on the Dark Web
The data comes from a new report issued by security-as-a-service provider Armor and its threat resistance unit (TRU). The company analyzes present dark market trends and compiles them all into an annual document explaining which trends are most prominent, and what users should potentially be wary of.
The dark web has become a national symbol of evil for those who seek to bring the crypto world deeper into mainstream territory. The “light web” sees crypto being used for legit purposes, i.e. payments on everyday items and a bit of speculation along the way (nobody said investing was a bad thing).
Unfortunately, ventures like the Silk Road allegedly brought about by online engineer Ross Ulbricht – now serving a life sentence – gets in the way of these goals. So long as crypto is consistently tied to black market trends, it can never move beyond its present position. The U.S. Treasury Department just announced that it will work with governments around the world, for example, to ensure crypto doesn’t become the next major tool used in terrorist funding.
With this new BTC to cash transfer method, one is probably wondering, “Why would a hacker or dark market individual seek to exchange so much for so little? How does offering $800 in digital currency garner one so much cash (as much as $10,000)?”
Chris Hinkley, Head of Armor’s TRU team, explains the intrigue:
For those scammers who don’t possess the technical skills and a robust money mule network to monetize online bank account or credit card credentials, this is an offer that can be very attractive. The threat actors are still selling financial account and credit card credentials outright, but this clever service gives them an additional channel for monetizing the large amounts of financial data available on the underground.
From what Hinkley suggests, the money the hacker will receive is a small reward compared with the credit card and other private financial data they’ll receive regarding the person engaged in the trade. They can take this data and sell it to other dark web users for a profit. All the while, the trader probably thinks they made a solid $9,200 with the trade, yet they’ve given up so much more.
Pay a Bit, Lose a Lot?
The process works by paying a set BTC fee. One then receives the money either via PayPal, a direct bank account transfer or a wire through Western Union.
Another section of the report explains that hackers are also selling individual proprietorship and LLC registration papers on the dark web for anyone seeking to create false businesses.