Exposure of cases involving the theft of credit card details or financial services accounts is demonstrating the importance of financial privacy and freedom. As anonymous cryptocurrency Monero lead developer Riccardo Spagni stated in his presentation at Coinbase headquarters, financial privacy and security are important for the general population. The only issue is that the vast majority is struggling to see the necessity of it just yet.
There are a few reasons behind the necessity of a decentralized, secure and peer to peer financial networks like bitcoin. One of them is to prevent the theft of financial information and personal data, as they can be used for criminal intent if ever exposed and distributed online.
Prior to the existence of darknet marketplaces, the distribution of financial data was much more difficult, as law enforcement agencies were able to follow the identities or often times the geographic locations of hackers selling financial and personal data on the web.
On darknet marketplaces, it is nearly impossible to track down the location and reveal the identities of hackers without leading undercover investigations by having agents contact darknet sellers directly. Thus, when hackers gain access to PayPal accounts or successfully penetrate e-commerce platforms or other servers and obtain sensitive financial information and sell them on the darknet, it becomes difficult for police to crack down on hackers.
In recent months, credit card and Paypal accounts have been sold on darknet marketplaces for as little as US$30. Since these sets of data originate from a server or IT infrastructure of companies, they often come with personal data to match with financial information. With a pair of personal data and financial information, various crimes can be committed.
As seen below on the infographic provided by Equifax and SecureWorks, darknet marketplaces are selling Visa Premium with user data for as little as $21.
While there are methods to protect financial privacy of credit card and financial services users, these thefts aren’t carried out due to the misconduct and irresponsibility of users. Instead, it is the weak infrastructure and systems of companies that are acting as catalysts for the growth of these illicit darknet trades of financial information.
Therefore, there exists a limited number of alternatives for users to rely on. One alternative is to abandon traditional forms of settlements and money transfers. Credit card information is stored in the local servers of online platforms. It is no longer the responsibility of banks when credit card information reaches local servers of companies.
Cryptocurrencies like Monero or bitcoin don’t leave any trace on online platforms nor give any sort of authority to platform operators. For instance, when a buyer logs into an e-commerce platform to settle a payment in bitcoin, through third party service provider like Bitpay, the buyer can send the payment to the seller without having to provide his private key or control over his wallet.
Image Via: CCA
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