In the early years of their existence, the concept of cryptocurrencies seemed like nothing more than a joke or a financial scam to the majority of the people who heard of them. The moment you brought up the topic, you would either be considered a scammer
or one who had been scammed and dismissed. We have come a long way since then. The world has learned of cryptocurrencies and most of us have come to regard it as an interesting financial asset that has been added to the very large pool of already existing
financial assets. Some of us trust cryptocurrencies to be a reliable way of income and unit of exchange, while others see the technology behind cryptocurrencies as the source of the kind of breakthrough that would change the world. Something on par with the
invention of the first lightbulb or even sliced bread (who could have ever thought?).
Despite this, one line of connection to the early days of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies today remains the way it has, seemingly, always been. The use of cryptocurrencies has always been popular
in the retail markets for things that are not necessarily legal, or all that savoury and this trend continues even today. But is that the only use of cryptocurrencies?
The things that are illegal
The concept of cryptocurrencies, in general, a specifically Bitcoin lends itself to criminal activity very easily. The fact that cryptocurrency transactions are impossible to track makes them the ideal candidate for online payments for things that should
not be bought. They act like cash - they do not have a name attached to them like a card, and they get transferred directly between the two parties, with the middleman being the blockchain record that remains unalterable and usually untraceable. This means
that the only way to make sure that someone has sent payment is to be tracking that person, and to make sure that someone has received payment is to be tracking their account. Otherwise, it is impossible to know who sent the money or who received it.
This means the blockchain has become widely known and even more widely known in the markets for things that are illegal. According to a study published to the Social Science Research Network in 2018, a significant amount of all Bitcoin transactions were
dedicated to the black markets. Around 46% of all transactions were made by the owners of the coins in order to purchase goods and services off of the black markets available around
the so-called “dark net”. The people were seeking to purchase illegal substances ranging from drugs to specific chemicals that cannot be legally purchased without a permit in their country. There were also those who purchased pornography, weapons and other
goods and services that are not legally available. All in all, according to the report, around 76 billion US dollars worth of transactions were dedicated to such goods and services. This means that the black markets are being driven, in a major way, to the
black markets through enabling e-commerce. This is not news to the majority of us who are aware of the existence of bitcoin, as there have been reports such as this for many years, but this report was published as recently as December 2018.
Beyond illegal activities, it seems that cryptocurrencies are also becoming more associated with things that are not necessarily savoury for certain individuals. Those who want to avoid being discovered to be spending a lot of time doing things like playing
games in online casinos and watching pornographic videos online. According to Peter Tompson of Playamo Australia, this enables certain scammers to use the opportunity in order to rob these people of their money,
deceiving them into depositing by pretending to be a Bitcoin gambling venue, and then running with the cash. It is not hard to see then why such a strong connection between the black market, illegal goods and services, scams, unsavoury activities and cryptocurrencies
would create the image that cryptos have.
The things that are legal
Although all of that is not the only thing that Bitcoin can be used for, and these illegal activities should not be what is defining cryptocurrencies and their future. This beautiful technology also enables a large number of people around the world to work
with and for better purposes around the world. Things such as investment, paying tuition, donating to charities and paying for simple
goods and services are all part of the use of cryptocurrencies and account for more than 50% of all transactions of cryptocurrencies. There are many things that can be done with cryptos and that has been part of the crypto tradition for many years as well.
After all, one of the very first transactions with Bitcoin was to purchase a pizza. The tradition of using crypto for everyday things has been around for longer than the other. It has been the reason for the creation of Bitcoin in the first place and this
should never be forgotten.