Secrecy and Anonymity Online

  • Angus BancroftEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)


This chapter considers another claimed benefit of cryptomarkets and the darknet generally, the feature that is seen as most threatening: anonymity. This chapter argues that anonymity is not the dangerous quality it appears to be. Most malicious activities do not take place using a darknet-provided cloak of anonymity. Communities can benefit from anonymity and pseudonymity. In any case, anonymity is neither an inherent quality of the darknet nor the cryptomarkets. Anonymity must be produced by the user. Even then, anonymity is contingent and temporary. It is contingent on the ability of the user to hide in the crowd, and it is temporary because of the growing capacity for various organisations to de-anonymising using blockchain analysis and other kinds of machine-learning and standard investigation techniques.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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