We have been covering all the aspects of what the Blockchain Technology is offering in multiple sectors. It has worked as a boon on the multiple industries that have implemented it. What a wonderful way of bringing about an industrial revolution without any financial losses and where peer-to-peer transactions rule the roost. But, there is another face to this reality. A dark side of things.
The Dark Side:
Blockchain Technology may hold the promise and the potential of making things profitable for all by removing third party organisations or centralized structures that govern a said service. But, there is a dark side to this decentralized mode of operation. The anonymity that it offers is being used for illicit intent and purposes. Just as it is with fiat currency, one can either buy a car or hard drugs. Likewise, with cryptocurrency one can purchase pizzas to private jets to pistons. The validation of a service transaction is not limited to the end product purchased or the malicious intent it is aimed at. It is approved only if the entire board validates it in a purely mathematical manner.
A little while back, in 2015, the Islamic State allegedly posted its Bitcoin address on the dark web so that individuals could send funding to them. Incidentally in 2015, a Virginia based teen was arrested after tweeting out instructions on how to donate Bitcoin to the Islamic State.
See Also: Blockchain: Freelancer’s Best Friend
As Bitcoin becomes more mainstream, companies such as Microsoft, Expedia, and for that matter even Subway have started to accept it as a means of payment for their services. So why not those who offer guns, drugs and for that matter bombs?
To claim that it is being solely mined with the intent of funding the militant groups shows our ignorance on the manner of their operation. The big picture is that militant groups are not solely dependent on cryptocurrency funding. They are primarily funded through a combination of charities, extortion, taxing the territory they control, or state sponsorship.
There have been instances wherein it was used for illicit purposes.
The multiple ransomware attacks of 2017, had one thing in common. No, not the lack of cyber security protocols, but the fact that hackers demanded the ransom payment in one or another form of cryptocurrency. They had released their digital wallet code and wanted payment in it in return of the data they had encrypted. Here comes the Dark side of this technology. A digital wallet is anonymous . No one can spot or point out a said wallet and claim that it belongs to Tom, Dick or Harry. It can be anyone. They can be sitting next to us in the train and we wouldn’t know. This anonymity is said to be manipulated by hackers and claims in the press are also being made on how future ransomware attacks shall be demanding a bigger return due to the sudden surge in Bitcoin prices over the last couple of months.
There was another claim in the media that the Paris Attacker of 2015, had a cryptocurrency wallet with approximately $ 3 Million worth of Bitcoin in it. This lead to a tidal discontent in the European Union in regards to the growth and popularity of Cryptocurrencies. Thankfully, as members of the press could not back their claim, no action was taken in regards to curbing its use and its mining. But, no one can deny that, it worked as a propaganda that cryptocurrency is being used by the ‘dark side of civil society’. This information has now taken roots in many minds. There is no denying that the anonymity that is provided by the use of cryptocurrencies is being misused by those who want to deny peace to the world. A portion of their funding may be done by the use of cryptocurrencies, but it does not mean that, they are solely dependent on it.
There is no denying that there is always two sides to a coin. While the world is rejoicing in the growth of Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies and their many uses, there are those who are focused on manipulating the anonymity to aid their shady activities. They are also the ones who viciously claim lives in the hope of religious freedom. Do you really think that they have not used fiat currency ( government approved currency) as a means to their ends? Then why is Cryptocurrency any different?