Leading analysis firm Chainalysis has recently revealed that the darknet markets exert a major presence within Eastern Europe’s cryptocurrency sector.
Within an official report by Chainalysis’ named ‘2020 Geography of Cryptocurrency’, the firm asserts that Eastern Europe is liable for “more global darknet market activity than the other region around the world,” with the anonymous free market Hydra comprising the region’s 6th-major cryptocurrency service.
The report estimates that Hydra generated over $1.2 Bln in cryptocurrency revenue between June 2019 to July 2020. The platform is among the world’s largest darknet marketplaces despite solely servicing Eastern Europe.
Chainalysis estimates that around 1.4% of Eastern Europe’s $41 Bln 12-month cryptocurrency volume is shipped to illegal entities. In percentage terms that’s slightly behind Latin America – where 1.6% of total transfer volume is destined for illicit platforms – however, the entire volume in Latin America is considerably smaller.
Eastern Europe is additionally home to “the leading-earning ransomware network administrators as well as ransomware-as-a-service operators,” with the region receiving 23% of worldwide transfers destined for ransomware addresses.
Moreover, despite the region’s high levels of cryptocurrency-powered cyber crimes, the report adds that Eastern Europe has seen significant adoption of cryptocurrency assets for legitimate purposes also, with Ukraine & Russia ranking as the top two countries within the Chainalysis’ Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index.
Approximately 85% of Eastern European cryptocurrency transfers are described as “professional-sized” transactions worth over $10k, with Chainalysis adding that the emerging presence of cryptocurrency fund managers within the region.