In the aftermath of a raid on a popular dark web trade site and a reheating feud over how best to handle the Bitcoin blockchain’s scaling issues, prices for the currency dropped below $2,000 for the first time in nearly 2 months.
Black market site AlphaBay unexpectedly shuttered this week and all the cryptocurrency emptied from user accounts, sparking rumors that the site owners had taken the money and run. However, reports soon surfaced that the shutdown was due to a coordinated raid by US, Canadian & Thai police agencies. Alexandre Cazes, the Canadian citizen who administrated the site, had been arrested in Bangkok on July 5 and was awaiting extradition to the US for AlphaBay’s role as a clearinghouse for narcotics, illegal weapons and stolen financial information. Cazes was found hanged in his jail cell the day of the raid in an apparent suicide.
AlphaBay was the leading successor to dark web marketplace Silk Road, at least among the more sinister sectors of the web’s Tor-accessible underbelly. The raid & shutdown have reportedly caused chaos as former AlphaBay sellers have flooded other sites trying to get their merchandise back online. AlphaBay is believed to have brought in an estimated $600,000 to $800,000 in revenue per day.
In addition, worries of a significant disruption in the Bitcoin community have re-erupted after the UASF mining coalition announced their plans to go ahead with their own version of Segregated Witness, despite a majority of miners pledging to back Segwit2x.
Prices on major exchanges have dropped over $1,000 since June 10, when they flirted with the $3,000 mark. Cryptocurrency prices have fallen across the board as the total market cap has dropped by around $43 billion.