Chainalysis held a webinar on April 15 to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on crypto crime. During this meeting, the company revealed that criminals claim to be selling coronavirus-infected blood on the darknet.
COVID-19 hurts crypto criminals
According to Chainalysis, darknet markets have not been immune to the adverse effects of the pandemic, with a 33% decline in the volume of cryptocurrency sent to scam addresses.
Cybercriminals have responded differently to the crisis. Some have shown restraint in following a self-imposed honor-code. Others have dropped to the new levels of amorality.
A new low for the darknet
In a particularly heinous display, a darknet vendor claims to be offering coronavirus-infected blood for sale, which he says he has injected into bats. The store owner alleges that the blood was extracted from his hospitalized father. He is charging 0.005 BTC per bat. It is not clear whether the vendor is actually selling infected blood, or just looking to scam victims out of their Bitcoin (BTC).
Admins policing themselves
On the other hand, some darknet operators are displaying signs of dignity. A number of venues have banned the sale of COVID-19 “cures,” and the admin for DoppelPaymer ransomware stated that they would not be conducting attacks against hospitals during the crisis.
The idea of self-restraint is not new to the world of darknet markets. Ross Ulbricht, the creator of Silk Road, banned anything that could harm or defraud individuals from his marketplace.
It is not clear whether the current crisis will have a profound effect on the world of cryptocurrency crime. For now, the industry continues to monitor and fight illicit blockchain transactions wherever possible.