One of the more popular drug market, which allows anyone to buy all sorts of illegal substances over tor, surprised both AlphaBay users and the ethereum community by announcing they are to accept eth from the 1st of May. An AlphaBay moderator says:
“Following the popularity of the new altcoin Ethereum and the recent price hike showing a growing interest, Alphabay has made the decision to start accepting Ethereum for marketplace listing purchases.”
The response was mixed, at best. One AlphaBay user says “Whut? ETH? Why…” while an etherian comments: “Hmm, this seems a little out of character, I thought they were going for privacy solutions.” Perhaps summarizing the reaction, another eth user says: “I’m not sure if this is exciting or slightly terrifying from an adoption standpoint.”
Eth is a permissionless currency and a multi-purpose tool. Anyone is free to use it, just as AlphaBay users are free to use the internet, computers, phones, cars. However, the addition of eth, in particular, is surprising.
Firstly, it doesn’t currently offer much privacy, something mainstream businesses have complained about. But, more importantly, the currency forked to take back stolen money and gave it to the rightful owners.
Such forking isn’t easy and comes with a cost. Eth had to spend two months of chaotic arguing, putting everything else on hold. Then, it split, leading to another month of chaos. Most see it as a correct decision, thus the currency quickly recovered and now has gained great heights, but you’d think from AlphaBay’s perspective they’d want to stay away. The move, however, shows they don’t really care much about ideology and just want something that works.
The catalyst is probably bitcoin’s current troubles which have led to high fees and long delays. One AlphaBay user, for example, says: “as a darknet user, you’d think you’d want your transactions to complete sometime this week and not cost a fortune in fees.”
Some users are concerned this may bring bad publicity, but there is a significant difference. Bitcoin’s community appeared to strongly support Silkroad back in the days, while, if eth’s community was given a choice, they’d probably rather prefer AlphaBay doesn’t accept the currency. But, it’s not their choice, just as Apple or Mercedes can’t stop AlphaBay from using their products, useful tools for ordinary people will also be useful in those corners.
For bitcoin, there’s a lesson. When even AlphaBay flips and does so to a currency that appears to not like them much, you know you have a very big problem. While for eth, whether they like it or not, this is a clear indication of considerable adoption and momentum.
Thankfully for them, such adoption was initiated by household brands, such as Microsoft, Intel, JP Morgan and even BP. It’s transitioning now to commerce – the currency had nearly 90,000 transactions yesterday moving around almost $1 billion – may be a significant moment indeed.
Image from Shutterstock.