The growing popularity of Wasabi and Samourai Bitcoin mixing wallets makes investigating activity in the darknet a really difficult task, according to a report recently published by Europol.
Both wallets use CoinJoin technology to anonymize Bitcoin transactions. Europol said:
"Privacy-enhanced wallet services using CoinJoin concepts have emerged as a top threat in addition to well established centralized mixers."
The report mentions these wallets offer additional features beyond simply integrating CoinJoin and the Tor network:
"Samurai, for example, offers remote wipeSMS commands when under distress. These wallets do not necessarily remove the link between the origin and destination of the funds but certainly make cryptocurrency tracing much more challenging."
Europol has highlighted the administrators of some darkweb markets are trying to integrate CoinJoin-compatible wallets as their default payment option. The proportion of users using hardware wallets is also growing. Some platforms use multi-signature addresses or wallet-less crypto payment systems.
Europol experts also highlight the strengthening of the decentralization of the darknet ecosystem. Per the report, there has been an increase in the number of small markets focused on specialized functions and offers for their users. The relatively short life cycles of such markets pose a problem for law enforcement agencies.
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