The need for privacy and anonymity on the dark web became more apparent last year when a few of the largest darknet marketplaces were shut down by law enforcement authorities.
Now, the remaining platforms are in a race to make their existing systems even more robust to avoid a repeat scenario.
Dream Market, the biggest dark web market that is currently in operation, has begun to consolidate its users’ privacy and anonymity by integrating with the altcoin Monero (XMR).
Already, Dream Market users have begun receiving notifications asking them whether they would like to use the privacy-centric altcoin in their future transactions.
XMR Integration Done Under Wraps
Before Dream Market unveiled the new payment option, which is now officially functional on the site, the admins had been steadily working behind the scenes to ensure that integration took no more than a few days.
It is quite the norm for dark web marketplaces to make these changes under wraps before attracting any publicity to it.
Despite that, competitors step up rather quickly every time a market goes offline, showing that the cutthroat environment of this unmitigated part of the web still exists.
Dream Market has found itself at the apex of the dark web. Although this means that millions of dollars worth of Bitcoin will soon pass through the marketplace, it also means that Dream Market’s admins have a massive target on their backs.
The addition of the privacy-focused Monero on Dream Market is therefore very timely because it gives them a much-needed layer of extra privacy and anonymity.
On Dream Market, the Monero payment option is offered alongside two other options—Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.
Dream Market first added support for Bitcoin Cash late last year.
XMR’s Rise in Popularity
Monero is currently the 13th most popular altcoin and is valued at around $240 USD. Thus far, it is the only altcoin that is truly untraceable.
Its popularity gained a boost last year after the now-defunct AlphaBay successfully integrated with XMR to give users a more anonymous way to pay for their goods.
Several vendors approved of this change and encouraged other markets to follow suit if they truly valued the privacy of their users.
For a period, Bitcoin Cash became a popular payment option on dark web markets with its only advantage over Bitcoin being lower transaction fees and quicker payment confirmations.
However, on the score of privacy, it was just as ineffective as Bitcoin, making it the proverbial band-aid over a gunshot wound.
Bitcoin No Longer the Best Option
Bitcoin has, for a long time, been a source of discontent for the thousands of dark web users who feel like it has not grown into the peer-to-peer cryptocurrency that all had hoped it would.
High transaction fees and long payment confirmation periods put a lot of people off from using the digital currency, and although Bitcoin Cash addressed the problem of high costs and long waiting periods, it did nothing about the lack of privacy and anonymity.
Currently, Monero is the only emerging altcoin that implements privacy and anonymity at the protocol level.
Several of its altcoin competitors claim to have the better privacy or to be more anonymous, but in reality, only Monero can hide both the sender and recipient’s identities plus the amount transacted.
So why has it been constantly overlooked and relegated to play second fiddle to the evidently insufficient Bitcoin?
For simple reasons. XMR hasn’t been made convenient to use for novices as of yet.
Since it is quite possibly the most powerful altcoin, especially in terms of being the only altcoin with functional privacy and anonymity features, it remains rather unwieldly for most inexperienced cryptocurrency users.
Bitcoin went down a similar path during its nascent years, so there is no doubt that Monero will eventually become as popular as Bitcoin. In fact, XMR is the only altcoin that offers transparency as an option, meaning that it is private and anonymous by default.
This can surely propel it into even greater heights of popularity than Bitcoin has reached.
Several Marketplaces Integrating Monero
Already, several darknet marketplaces have started to pay attention to the altcoin. Dream Market has officially completed integration, now offering its users three payment options.
Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash will undoubtedly come second to the much more robust privacy coin, which will provide many Dream Market users with true anonymity.
Several Reddit posts have shown that a large number of Dream Market users are clamoring for XMR to be added onto all trading platforms to boost their privacy in light of last summer’s AlphaBay takedown.