Darknet use of bitcoin mixers surged in 2020's first quarter: report

Editor's Note: This report is based on a study published in May, which was previously covered at the time by The Block. The data was republished in a Medium post this week.

Data published by blockchain analytics service Bitfury Crystal shows a significant increase in the use of bitcoin transaction mixers between the last quarter of 2019 and the first quarter of this year.

In dollar terms, the jump represents an increase of 294%. The Crystal report notes the significant rise seen year-over-year as well.

"The amount of bitcoin sent to mixers by darknet entities rose significantly this year — from 790 total bitcoin in Q1 2019 to 7,946 bitcoin in Q1 2020. The same growth was also observed in USD — an increase from $3m in Q1 2019 to $67m in Q1 2020. This indicates a rapid adoption of crypto mixing services by darknet entities," the report's authors wrote. The data was gleaned from tracing "both direct and indirect bitcoin transactions between clusters owned by darknet entities, as well as non-darknet and unidentified entities."

Source: Bitfury Crystal

"From this analysis, it seems that exchanges with verification requirements are becoming less popular as a way to withdraw bitcoin from darknet entities, while mixers are becoming more popular for withdrawing from darknet entities," the authors continued.