Criminal Uses

As with any currency Bitcoins have their share of criminal uses. Drugs, gambling, weapons, you name it and you can probably use Bitcoins to get it. While this is true for all currencies, the nature of Bitcoins makes it a great deal easier to use for illegal purposes.

Finding illegal items with physical currencies usually depends on word of mouth. Once the desired item is located one would either have to go personally or send someone else to meet the seller. This is not the case with Bitcoins. The markets for Bitcoins are almost entirely online, which makes finding items and sellers extremely easy. Provided the buyer knew where to look in the first place.

Given the large amount of illegal goods and services that can be purchased using Bitcoins, one could wonder how much of the Bitcoin economy is based off illegal transactions. There are some legal goods and services that can be bought with Bitcoins, and trading Bitcoins as a commodity is completely legal. How do the illegal and legal trades compare to each other? Sadly, getting data on illegal markets is quite difficult, but there is some data available on the Silk Road.

All currencies have a darker side where one can get almost anything they desire if they know where to look and are willing to spend enough. The characteristics of Bitcoins make it easier to use for nefarious purposes than other currencies. These characteristics also allow Bitcoins to trade hands faster, and travel farther than any other currency.

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