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Digital Citizens Action Alliance

Darknet Marketplace Watch - Monitoring Sales of Illegal Drugs on the Darknet

Illegal drug sales have moved out of the poorly lit alley and into an equally shadowy, dangerous place - the Darknet. Wired Magazine says the Darknet is a "second, parallel Internet. Right now it’s full of nasty (or, at the very least, illegal) activity like illicit drug or arms sales, or pedophile rings. The Darknet is populated by precisely who you’d expect to be skulking in the darkest corners of the online world. They have something to hide."

Digital Citizens Alliance investigators track the numbers of illegal and dangerous drugs found on the most popular Darknet Marketplaces. The first report, Busted, but Not Broken: The State of Silk Road and the Darknet Marketplaces, was published in April 2014. Below is the latest listings on the sites we looked at last April as well as a few others that have joined the list.

Updated on August 22, 2014 (These numbers were accumulated from 8/15-8/20):

  • Over the last several months Silk Road has been under serious and frequent DDOS attack. That, along with a massive hack of Bitcoin earlier this year, has not only stymied growth, but led to a decrease in listings of 10 percent. Pandora also lost a large portion of Bitcoin due to a hack and has seen very little growth since our report came out.
  • Agora and Evolution Marketplace have been the benefactors of the misfortunes of SR 2.0 and Pandora. As the chart above points out, both sites have seen tremendous growth and Agora appears primed to overtake Silk Road 2.0 as the largest Darknet Marketplace based on total number of drugs listed.
  • White Rabbit Anonymous Marketplace, which was included in our report is now dead.
  • Dark Bay shut down and merged with a new site, Andromeda Market, which has seen large growth and is now included in our large market category.
  • There are eight new markets included in the chart(not including Andromeda) bringing the total from 11 in our original report to 19 markets today. Two are worth keeping an eye on as they have experience significant growth very early on. They are Cloud 9 and Hydra Marketplace.