With Bitcoin’s surge into the mainstream, many people keep asking what it can actually be used for. While there are many legitimate uses for the cryptocurrency, it is notorious for being used to conduct anonymous illegal purchases on the deep web. I was having a conversation with someone recently who was under the impression that the types of sites that sold illegal goods required significant computer skills and secrete knowledge to access, that it was far beyond the skills of an average adult. And certainly it would be beyond the skills of most of our students.
I couldn’t disagree more.
Back in 2012, I experimented with the deep web and Bitcoin, mostly for exploratory purposes and to see if I thought there were any implications for educators. At the time, I decided to shelve the information and didn’t share much out, but given how many conversations are occurring about Bitcoin and how it’s being used, I thought some people might be interested to see how it all works.
In this episode, I’ll show you the steps that people take to anonymize their internet traffic using VPNs and the Tor browser, discover websites on the deep web, and a few examples of what you may find there. You may be surprised just how easy it is for someone to access sites that are essentially Amazon type marketplaces for guns, drugs, stolen credit cards and much much more.
This isn’t meant to be a ‘how to,’ but rather to inform parents and educators so that they understand just how easy it can be for our students to explore this world, and how important it is that we stay diligent in our mentoring and monitoring.
If you have any follow up questions, leave me a comment or message me. I’m always happy to discuss these important topics with people.
And if you want to learn more about Blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin, I highly recommend this article by Audrey Watters.