More than six years after the collapse of Silk Road, the world’s first major cryptocurrency drug market, the deep web is still home to a thriving illicit drug trade.
Why are these markets still considered attractive drug destinations despite the risks?
First, selling drugs online is safer and more profitable than selling drugs on the street.
Encryption technologies enable suppliers to communicate with customers and receive payments anonymously. Medicines are delivered by mail, so the seller and buyer never have to meet in person.
This protects suppliers from many of the risks that prevail in other forms of drug supply, including the secret police, predatory confrontation tactics where suppliers can be robbed, attacked, or even killed by competitors, and customers who can report their supplier if caught.
Other risks, such as customer fraud and exit fraud, were considered inevitable on the deep web, but also manageable.
Some respondents stated that protection from physical risk in the dark web is not only an advantage for existing drug providers, but can also make this activity attractive to people who would not otherwise be willing to sell drugs.
More customer focused
Several vendors have told us that a sense of security and control allows them to focus on providing a more polite service to their customers.
These insights help us understand why the deep web is becoming increasingly attractive not only to illicit drug users, but also to the people who supply them.