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  • A Chainalysis report suggests that due to Coronavirus, BTC consumer habits have been changed in different ways.
  • The report mainly covers three areas – merchant services, darknet marketplaces and gambling.

A new Chainalysis report suggests that BTC consumer habits have been changed in different ways due to the outbreak of coronavirus. The report details how Bitcoin spending trends in three areas have been altered or reversed. The areas include merchant services, darknet marketplaces and gambling. 

Merchant services

The report indicates resilience among Bitcoin merchant services in the current economic setting. For instance, Chainalysis data about Bitcoin spending using merchant services (from July 2019 till March 9, 2020) shows that there was a positive correlation between expenditure and price. In simple words, the more BTC is worth, the more likely holders are to spend it. However – since the outbreak of the current pandemic – this positive correlation has reduced by half and the total value of expenditure has reduced. Though this indicates that holders are spending less during the last few months where Bitcoin’s price dropped, the decrease is still less dramatic than expected otherwise. This is because, since the outbreak, the strength of the correlation between price and behavior has itself also weakened.

Darknet marketplaces

There has been a significant change in user behavior on darknet marketplaces, which usually has only a weak negative correlation to BTC’s price. However, since the outbreak, the association has reversed and become strong, leading to a prominent drop in darknet market income. To explain this change, Chainalysis points to possible external factors. It said that due to the faltered supply chains across the world, illicit substances might have been harder to come by. 

Recent reports point out that Mexican drug cartels are having a harder time sourcing fentanyl, as China’s Hubei province — a hub of the global fentanyl trade — has been hit hard as the epicenter of the outbreak. Such disruptions […] could be hampering darknet market vendors’ ability to do business.

Gambling

About gambling, the earlier positive correlation to BTC price has corrected to zero since early March 2020. This means that there has been no discernable impact of the pandemic on gamblers’ behavior.