AlphaBay darknet moderator, who was paid in bitcoin, is sentenced to 11 years in prison

Bryan Connor Herrell, a 26-year-old resident of Colorado and former moderator of now-defunct darknet marketplace AlphaBay, has been sentenced to 11 years in prison.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the news on Tuesday, saying that Herrell settled disputes between vendors and purchasers of AlphaBay and was paid in bitcoin (BTC) for his services. Herrell, who went by the monikers "Penissmith" and "Botah," also served as a scam watcher, to monitor attempts to defraud AlphaBay users.

"Herrell's sentence sends a clear message to criminals that the darknet is no safe haven for illegal transactions," said Sean Ragan, special agent in charge of the FBI's Sacramento Field Office. Herrell pleaded guilty in January of this year.

The Justice Department shut AlphaBay in 2017. The website operated for over two years on the dark web and was used to sell drugs, stolen identification documents and other illegal goods and services.

Bitcoin remains the most popular choice of crypto among darknet marketplaces, as The Block Research found out recently. Among the 49 darknet markets surveyed, about 98% of them support bitcoin. Monero is the second-most popular cryptocurrency — it's used by 45% of markets.