Internet lawbreakers are abandoning Bitcoin and switching to a new cryptocurrency, Bloomberg reports.
As police become better at tracking bitcoin use, criminals are turning to other types of virtual currency, like Monero, which is reportedly easier to hide in financial transactions — crooked or otherwise.
Europol, the European Union’s police force, has already noted its concern that the underworld would find other ways to avoid financial detection, stating in a report that “other cryptocurrencies such as monero, ethereum and Zcash are gaining popularity within the digital underground.”
Online scammers who lock computers and then attempt to extort money to reopen them, are telling victims to provide the ransom money in currencies like monero.
WordPress was subject to a massive hack on Dec. 18 that stipulated extortion money should be provided in monero.
Matt Suiche, of computer security firm Comae Technolgies, told Bloomberg that monero is now “one of the favorites, if not the favorite” source of revenue for online criminals.
Monero is still virtually untraceable, unlike bitcoin, which is carefully tracked to the point of having listing times, dates and amounts saved in a digital bank. All that information can be used to verifying financial activity that is clearly criminal in nature.
On the other hand, monero, which has only been in use since 2014, seems made to order for illegal activity, providing fake identities, coordinates and payments for any given transaction.
Zcash might be an even better option for organized crime, though the syndicates apparently have yet to adopt it in any significant way.