A study by Rand Corporation unveiled that people using Zcash for illicit or criminal purposes in the dark web may not fully understand the underlying technology.

According to the 65-page report published on May 7, the US-based think tank and government contractor highlighted that criminals have doubts regarding the anonymity offered by Zcash.

The research highlights that the governance of Zcash and its branding as compliant with AML/CFT regulations may make it less susceptible to exploitation for illicit or criminal purposes.

However, there is one aspect that the study reveals many criminal's perception of Zcash: market conditions, rather than specific characteristics of a particular cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin’s dominance

The report suspects that criminals choose to “go where the money is,” explicitly mentioning Bitcoin (BTC).  They note that Bitcoin has a “hegemony” and gives criminals confidence in their illicit activities, due in part to its popularity.

The study also highlights criminals do not consider Zcash practical in terms of usability.

Darknet analysis revealed that Zcash has a minor to non-existent presence. This may show that it is unattractive to users of these illegal sites.

Lack of knowledge concerning Zcash’s operating model

The report also explains that most criminals are not using shielded Zcash payments, which would otherwise help to protect their identities. Researchers speculate that these users “either do not understand the Zcash operating model or are not aware.”

The study concludes:

“Bitcoin is still perceived to be the dominant cryptocurrency for illicit or criminal activities on the dark web.”

Rand Corporation clarifies that studies on the use of cryptocurrencies in illicit activities remain “an emerging field.”

The study contrasts with other research carried out by Chainalysis, reported by Cointelegraph in 2019. In this study, Chainalysis showed that Bitcoin is considered the worst payment method for dark web users. However, it’s still the most used and accepted.

Rand Corporation also published research on illicit transactions on the dark web in 2019, reaffirming the idea of Bitcoin’s popularity in criminal activities.