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Black hands and onion channels: a study of drugs on non-English language darknet markets

EasyChair Preprint no. 441

12 pagesDate: August 17, 2018


Introduction: Around two-thirds of all commerce in the darknet ecosystem is drug-related. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), recently conducted an analysis that identified over 100 global darknet markets, and estimated that between 2011-2015, EU-based suppliers accounted for around 46% of all drug revenue. While the ecosystem is dominated by English language markets with global reach, marketplaces with limited geographical scope exist, catering to the needs of non-English speaking buyers. However, little is known about the extent of this phenomenon and what operational models are used. Methods: Between May and June 2017 a short survey was distributed among EMCDDA drug supply-related networks in 43 countries. In addition, in June 2017, two surface websites were searched for non-English darknet markets, and information was gathered on the darknet markets identified. Prices of a range of drug types on offer were collected. Results: Two-thirds of countries approached responded to the data request. Of these, four countries (France, Finland, Sweden and Norway) reported a total of nine national darknet marketplaces. Additional searching identified a further 11 marketplaces from three countries (France, Italy and Russia). Of these, 13 were excluded as they were unavailable, were forums or had never actualised sales. All seven darknet marketplaces catering for specific countries appeared to sell drugs over Tor, the majority offering open registration and some form of escrow functionality. Prices on the Russian marketplace were consistently higher than on European sites. Discussion: There are a number of potential reasons for the emergence and endurance of these marketplaces, notably the role played by national Customs agencies. These are discussed along with the role of national darknet marketplaces in the global darknet markets ecosystem and how these may influence traditional physical drug markets.

Keyphrases: Darknet, drug markets, Drug trade, Europe, Internet

BibTeX entry
BibTeX does not have the right entry for preprints. This is a hack for producing the correct reference:
  author = {Teodora Groshkova and Andrew Cunningham and Sascha Strupp and Roumen Sedefov},
  title = {Black hands and onion channels: a study of drugs on non-English language darknet markets},
  howpublished = {EasyChair Preprint no. 441},
  doi = {10.29007/t6x7},
  year = {EasyChair, 2018}}
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