Bitcoin has often been associated with illegal activities on the Internet, ranging from drug dealing to assassination and just about everything in between. However, none of this is to blame on Bitcoin or its technology, as Internet criminals accept the form of payment they think offers anonymity, which Bitcoin does not. That being said, a new Bitcoin-powered drug network in Ukraine has been rolled up by the police, and an underage student is facing criminal charges for selling hard drugs over Tor.
Underage Student Accepts Bitcoin for Hard Drugs
Although criminality can occur at any age, it does not happen often underage students resort to selling hard drugs as a way to earn some money. That was not the situation in the Ukraine, though, as law enforcement arrested one underage person who is suspected of running a hard drugs distribution platform on the Internet.
Among the drug offerings sold are heroin, cocaine, and methadone, all of which are extremely addictive and completely illegal in the country. Selling these substances over the Internet in exchange for Bitcoin seemed to be a very lucrative business for this underage student, but it was only a matter of time until he got arrested.
What is of particular concern is how well-versed this individual was in the world of online criminality, as he had no problem setting up his hard drugs platform using the Tor protocol. Using this software means people who want to buy hard drugs will have to install specific software – usually a browser – and access this website which is not indexed by search engines or accessible through a normal browser.
Accepting Bitcoin payments is the easiest way to respect customer privacy over the Internet, but it is not an anonymous payment method. A portion of the hard drugs – worth over 50,000 hryvnia or US$,1825 – were confiscated during the arrest. There is no word on whether or not any Bitcoins have been seized during this intervention.
However, the arrest has netted law enforcement agents with a complete list of all customers who had purchased hard drugs from this student before. Moreover, the current plan is to trial this underage person as an adult, which could net him a jail sentence of up to twelve years. According to Oleg Yagolnik, cases like these are ground to invoke Article 307 of the Ukrainian Criminal Code.
The bigger question is whether or not law enforcement agents will be able to figure out who supplied this student with the hard drugs. Resorting to Tor to sell these substances is not something most twelve-year-olds know how to do, so it is very likely he received help from at least one other individual.
Internet criminals still seem to prefer Bitcoin payments, although digital currency transfers are not anonymous. Tracing a transaction on the blockchain can be done by anyone in the world, in real-time. Bitcoin simply does not allow people to move funds around anonymously over the Internet, although it does provide some privacy protection.