If you’ve been shopping for contraband online for the past five years, you may have noticed that the ability to pay with bitcoin — once the most popular form of payment on dark web markets — is slowly disappearing.

You may be wondering why it matters to you or the average bitcoin enthusiast. (You’re probably an excellent, law-abiding citizen—good for you, but that’s irrelevant.) Let me explain.

The Silk Road

Bitcoin’s first major milestone was its acceptance as a form of money. This happened in the early stages with small, obscure traders, but as word spread, Bitcoin found itself as the dark web’s “official” currency, enabling the creation of a market dubbed the “Silk Road.”

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