Most transactions that take place on the deepweb utilize some form of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin and Ethereum have dominated the market for the longest time, but with the growing realization that neither form of digital currency is completely anonymous, many users have been seeking alternatives. One such alternative is Monero; a currency that both AlphaBay and Oasis just announced can be used on their marketplaces.
Unlike Bitcoin forks, Monero is based on the CryptoNote protocol and has significant algorithmic differences in regard to blockchain obfuscation. By the very nature of the CryptoNote protocol, transactions cannot be traced through the blockchain in a way that reveals who sent or received coins – a feature that both Bitcoin and related forks inherently lack. (Note that being able to trace Bitcoin transactions through the blockchain is not a design flaw. It’s a feature, instead.)
With Monero, there is no tracing the transactions. Although the cryptocurrency has had a growing market value of up to $20m since it launched in 2014, the small user-base hasn’t received the kind of response one might expect from a completely anonymous digital currency. The community over on /r/monero has been in constant support though and remains an excellent place to get started in using the currency.
There is currently no native GUI wallet for the currency. Command line and web-based wallets are the only way to access Monero. Although the native wallet with a GUI has been in the works, “soon,” for two years now, many users truly believe that the wallet is in its final stages and will be publicly released soon. Currently Shapeshift is the most commonly used method of exchanging cryptocurrencies and Monero support is included.
Early on the 19th of August, the Oasis market announced on both their marketplace forums and the /r/DarkNetMarkets subreddit that they would begin supporting Monero as a payment source.
From the Oasis forum post:
It is now possible to place orders using the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency (Vendors obviously need to accept it by editing their listings).
In questions directed towards Oasis moderators, a few more details have been revealed. While Monero IDs have been integrated and are going to function as integrated payment methods, there is currently no way to deposit or fund an account using Monero. This feature will be coming soon. Vendors are urged to update their listings to allow Monero payments, but there no is no date as to when full support will happen or whether or not a vendor will be required to accept Monero.
Shorty after Oasis announcing Monero support, AlphaBay did the same in the form of a marketplace announcement on the homepage and a Reddit post to the usual subreddit. AlphaBay’s announcement took place on the 22nd of August, just three days after Oasis’s.
AlphaBay gives readers a little more detail on the upcoming Monero support, including a date when deposits will be made openly available.
From the Reddit post as the AlphaBay forum post is seemingly unreachable at the moment:
Alphabay Market is now implementing Monero. Following the demand from the community, and considering the security features of Monero, we decided to add it to our marketplace. We will officially open Monero deposits and withdrawals on September 1st, 2016. We just finished upgrading the platform to allow Monero Escrow / FE transactions, and to give time to vendors to edit their listings in order to
select that Monero is accepted. By default, if you do not edit your listings, only Bitcoin will be accepted. Upon logging in Alphabay, you will see your Monero balance (now 0), and you will be able to search listings by cryptocurrency support. We plan on adding other currencies in the future as the demand grows. Due to the size of the marketplace and possible side effects, we are forced to make the implementation in two phases. We expect this to cause a spike in the price, so if you are an investor, now is the time to purchase Monero.
If you have no interest in changing your main form of cryptocurrency, this should have little to impact on your day-to-day activities. If you’re a vendor, though, both marketplaces urge vendors to prepare for the upcoming changes.