Bitcoin mixer Wasabi Wallet under Europol's lens for facilitating dark web transactions

Wasabi Wallet, a privacy-focused bitcoin wallet that helps shuffle coins for anonymity purposes, is under Europol’s lens for facilitating dark web transactions.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, internally presented a two-part report on Wasabi Wallet earlier this year, primarily analyzing the wallet’s use for criminal activities.

Citing data from Chainalysis, the first part of the report, circulated in April, says: "Over the last three weeks, BTC in the amount of nearly 50 million USD were deposited into Wasabi with almost 30% coming from dark web markets. This is a significant amount, relatively speaking, given the dark web transactions are estimated to have only 1% share of total transactions.”

The report went on to say that “things are not looking good,” meaning it is not easier to trace bitcoin transactions taking place via Wasabi Wallet. It is also difficult to “demix” transactions, it added.

“The sheer amount of transactions and uniform output amounts, typically offer too many options of where the funds could have moved. Still, there may be a glimpse of hope if the suspect makes a mistake and decides to group the mixed coins together,” said the report.

The use of bitcoin mixing services by darknet entities is indeed growing, as Bitfury’s crypto analytics unit Crystal Blockchain noted last month. It said the share of bitcoin sent to mixers by darknet entities rose to 20% in Q1 2020 as compared to just 1% in Q1 2019. Bitcoin mixers help combine payments from multiple users into a single transaction, thereby masking their origin.