Australia is a major drug player on the dark web, a new study shows. The country holds the second place for the highest concentration of darknet drug dealers per capita, right after the Netherlands.
The research, published by the Australian Institute of Criminology, maps out the countries which are the largest buyers and sellers of illegal narcotics on the dark web. The results give a new perspective of the organized crime happening on darknet markets.
Unsurprisingly, considering it has the largest economy and a population of approximately 320 million, the United States holds the first place for the overall number of vendors and transactions in darknet markets.
However, when the numbers were measured against population size, a different result emerged.
With .9 vendors per 100,000 of the national population, Netherlands holds the first place for the number of vendors per capita. Second highest is Australia with .65, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany.
From all the countries included in the research, France holds the last place with .07 drug vendors per capita.
The Numbers Behind the Drug Trades
The data was collected over the course of one month, focusing on the main players in the darknet drug trade.
The published research investigates organized crime, including darknet drug trade, in terms of both domestic and transnational range. Covering many aspects of it, the report gives a new dimension of the current gap in knowledge about the online trade of particular drugs.
According to the collected information, the Netherlands holds the first place for ecstasy-dealing with 28 percent of the global market sales, while Australia is right behind with 9 percent. Moreover, the U.K. is the world’s biggest seller of cocaine owning 37 percent of the market, followed by the U.S. with 23 percent. Methamphetamine was mostly sold by U.S. darknet drug dealers, with 47 percent out of the global darknet methamphetamine transactions, and Australian drug dealers with 27 percent.
In terms of prices, Australian sellers appear to be most expensive ones, contrasting the Netherlands as a country that sells drugs for the lowest price.
Unexpected Results Emerge from the Research
James Martin, research author and associate professor at Swinburne University, explained that most of the drug trading by Australian vendors is domestically concentrated, similar to the U.S.
On the contrary, Europe-based vendors were most likely to list the products for international sale with 100 percent of vendors located in the Netherlands, aiming to sell products internationally, either within the continent or to other destinations worldwide.
According to him, these results were not unforeseen as the Australian market is not very competitive compared to Europe or the U.S. due to expensive prices.
However, what did surprise him were the number of the mentioned methamphetamine sales in Australia.
Martin explains that despite the worrying numbers, Australia actually doesn’t have a large number of methamphetamine users. The reasonable explanation of these results, according to him, would be the lack of popularity of the drug in Europe and other places.
A Different Perspective of the Issue
According to a press release by the Australian Federal Police, the authorities are already working on resolving the problem, trying to combat all forms of technology-supported crime.
Martin, on the other hand, agrees that tracking darknet trading is very difficult but claims it’s not all bad news for the police, as it removes the potential violence. Drug trading over the internet has taken an uprising trend, removing a lot of the street-dealing accompanied with violence.
Moreover, he adds that drugs sold on the internet tend to be with a better quality, eliminating some of the possible threats for the users.
And while Martin and his team of researchers will keep studying the darknet for gaining more detailed information, the Australian Institute of Criminology report gives new insights into the global drug trade. The results are set to improve the evidence needed in order to adapt and develop a more effective response to the threat of organized crime on a global scale.