According to a recent report, the sale of drugs has tripled since the closure of the online drug marketplace Silk Road.
In a joint study conducted by the University of Montreal and University of Manchester, it has been found that the online drugs black marketplaces have only grown in strength even after the closure of Silk Road by law enforcement authorities.
The study also says that the revenue has since doubled.
Silk Road and Afterwards
When the drugs marketplace Silk Road was pulled down by the FBI, it operated on the Tor network.
Many darknet markets function on this platform as it offers the convenience of logging in anonymously for users.
Silk Road was a place where people could buy illicit drugs anonymously.
When the Silk Road site was pulled down in 2013, it was generating sales of over $15 million in a year.
Subsequently, Silk Road 2.0 appeared in November 2013 only to be shut down in the following year.
Ross Ulbricht, the founder of Silk Road, has since been sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Stijn Hoorens, one of the authors of the report and a researcher at RAND (Europe) opined that all of this has in no way reduced the revenues of darknet markets.
New black marketplaces selling drugs have opened up and the illicit drugs sales continue to grow.
The users have just moved to new online marketplaces.
It has also been noticed that these cryptomarkets function only for a brief period and operate in such a manner that users are always ready for the impending shutdown at any point in time by the law enforcement agencies.
One of the most common drugs found on the darknet marketplaces is cannabis which makes up a third of the sales.
This is according to figures from EMCDDA, a center that monitors drugs and addiction thereof.
Though some experts’ opinion in the research report is that the presence of online drug markets has indeed reduced the associated violence, it has thrown light on the fact that it is very easy for youngsters to source illicit drugs from such online marketplaces.
As some users try to source illicit drugs from online black markets, dealers are engaging in new bidding wars and attractive deals to entice new customers.
Additionally, according to research, drug dealers based in the UK earned more money than their European counterparts did.
It has been found out that UK-based drug dealers’ online revenues in January alone were £1.7 million and this represented about 16 percent of the global online drugs market share.
The dealers’ benefits mainly accrued from buying stock online and selling offline.
The report also backed up evidence with a Global Drug Survey in which 8058 respondents said that they purchased their drugs online.
This made up about 8 percent of the total number.
Last year only about 5,000 respondents said that they purchased narcotics online.
Countries that saw a surge in online drug marketplace activity included UK and Sweden with a notable increase in Scotland.
The closing note of the report suggests that the evidence of the impact of the cryptomarkets is inconclusive as yet.
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