Cryptocurrency-related crimes in the Eastern Europe region are on the mushrooming stage comparing to other leading countries including China and the U.S. on a global level over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“With 1.4% of its $41 billion in total transaction volume sent to illicit entities, Eastern Europe is second only to Latin America with 1.6% of its volume sent to illicit entities.”
Eastern Europe is a new hot spot for crypto services in the darknet market (DNM). The region has ranked on number 6 in providing the largest illegal crypto-focused business services.
The country is warming up with the effects of high grassroots level adoption of crypto commerce including related ransomware, P2P trading volumes, and massive darknet activities comparing to other regions due to the monolithic banking system and lower economic opportunity. The blockchain and cryptocurrency analysis firm Chainalysis which provides data analytics to governments and private corporations released a blog excerpt “Chainalysis 2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency Report.”
As per the report, Eastern Europe stands on number 4th after Ukraine and Russia in crypto adoption by everyday users on Chainalysis “Global Crypto Adoption Index” and the region is presenting as 6th largest in crypto business in the darknet market place (DNM).
The report reads that comparatively the residents of these nations have shifted their financial activities on cryptocurrencies and not anymore dependent on conventional financial activities for everyday use or investments.
Further, the analysis firm shown a list of countries indicating an approximate number of the transaction took place so far in the nations.
In the likes of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, the Eastern Europe market is also driven by the “professional market” because residents are aware of the electronic payment systems and face a lack of trust in governments.
Chainalysis study shows 12 months analysis in which 85% of all Eastern European transaction volume of professional-sized transfers exceeds $10,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
Though, institutional level adoption and investment are still less as compared to North America and Northern & Western Europe (NWE).
Eastern Europe on Darknet Crypto Market
Cryptocurrency has become the new means of earning an opportunity to enter into the decentralized financial markets especially in Eastern Europe followed by East Asia, NWE, and North America.
Almost, all the largest cryptocurrency exchanges are offering services in Eastern Europe like Binance, Huobi, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, Coinbase are amongst others. The total value sent to Eastern Europe from July 2019 to June 2020 is $15 billion wherein Binance contributes approx. $14 billion.
The report reveals that one of the major portions of crypto services and transactions are spreading via illegal Hydra Marketplace (a darknet marketplace). “This is sixth-largest service by volume in the region — no other region has a darknet market or other illicit service in its top ten services.”
“With over $1.2B worth of cryptocurrency in revenue between June 2019 and July 2020, Hydra is one of the largest darknet markets in the world, although it only serves vendors and buyers in Eastern Europe, with 100% of its transaction volume attributed to the region.” The report mentions.
Operating on the dark web, founded in 2015, Hydra is a major Russian marketplace on the darknet (DNM) and among the world’s largest drug delivery platforms (sells narcotic substances) which works in the likes of Uber. Allegedly, Hydra Marketplace “can only be accessed with an anonymized browser like Tor.” During 2019, Hydra also launched a dubious ICO token sale for the global expansion.