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Personal Data of OKCoin Founder Star Xu Sold for 0.00029 Bitcoin on the Dark Web

Bitcoin use on the darknet is still surging despite the the year-long-and-counting crypto market downturn.

A vendor going by “darrenchen” was attempting to sell personal information of Star Xu,the founder of cryptocurrency exchange OKCoin, for just 0.00029 bitcoin that values approximately $1 on a darknet market in early January, according to Chinese media Blockbeats.

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The ad stated that the information being sold included Xu’s personal identification number, address, birthplace, the spouse’s name, the car’s information, his businesses, activities, and  social networks. At press time, both Xu and OKCoin have not commented on the data leakage issue.

It’s not uncommon to see personal information to be traded on notorious darknet marketplaces in bitcoin, despite continued efforts by law enforcement to crack down illicit activities. In August 2018, a hacker sold personal information of more than 130 million hotel guests of Huazhu Hotels Group, a leading hospitality chains in China on a dark web forum for 8 bitcoin, worth about $56,000 at the time.

In addition to sensitive personal data, darknets, which require specialized software like OR (The Onion Ring) to browse, offer interested parties a place to procure illegal drugs, weapons, child pornography and other contraband.

Bitcoin transactions rose on the darknet in 2018, even though it shed 80 percent of its value in the last 12 months. A recent report from data firm Chainalysis stated that bitcoin transaction volumes on darknet markets surged throughout 2018 to an average of $2 million per day, nearly double the volume measured at the start of the year.

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But the value of bitcoin flowing into darknet markets fell to $603 million in 2018 from $700 million in 2017. The dip was reportedly attributable to the closure of the major darknet Alphabay in mid-2017.

The report added when one darknet market closes, others pop up to take its place. The closure of Alphabay drives darknet users to another popular site which sees four times the size of AlphaBay at its peak.

Kim Grauer, senior economist at Chainalysis, told Reuters in a recent interview that

“For someone who wants to buy something on a dark marketplace, the fact that bitcoin price is fluctuating doesn’t really matter.”

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