Nurtured by Elon Musk, Dogecoin (DOGE) gained significant traction and transformed its initial joke reputation into a serious payment method. Unfortunately, growing popularity means it has not escaped the notice of criminals. A recent report by Elliptic revealed DOGE was used for thefts, scams, Ponzi schemes, and even terrorism and child sexual abuse material.
New Alternative for Illicit Activity
Dogecoin has dramatically increased adoption and value amongst large businesses, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX accepting it as a payment method. Apart from legal goods and services, Dogecoin is also used for illicit activities, stated the report.
Elliptic found millions of dollars worth of Dogecoin transactions connected with criminal activities: mainly fraud, scams, and Ponzi schemes. The report revealed that Dogecoin is also used by the vendors of child sexual abuse material, and terrorist groups, even though the numbers were significantly lower than with fraud-related crimes.
To evade the authorities, criminals are starting to use alternative cryptocurrencies that are still not under such thorough surveillance as Bitcoin or Ethereum. The report underlines that this calls for attention from law enforcement to evaluate the risks beyond just the most popular crypto assets.
Usage for Terrorism and Child Abuse
In 2021, Israel seized 84 Hamas-linked Wallets and received $7.7 million in crypto assets. This included Doge addresses, which had received a total of $40,235.
Elliptic research showed that child sexual abuse material vendors on both the darknet and clearnet used Bitcoin for most transactions. However, an increasing number of vendors are starting to use altcoins, including Dogecoin. However, DOGE traffic is still low, with less than $3,000 in payments globally identified.
DOGE is increasingly used in the darknet markets as a payment method for drugs and stolen data. Just-Kill site, which provides a stolen credit card checking service, allows users to deposit funds and donate to the site using a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Dogecoin.
Archetyp drug market previously used Dogecoin along with other altcoins for swap service to allow users to deposit funds. However, the market recently has switched to only accepting Monero.