Online Drug Trade Booming Despite Silk Road Shut Down & Ulbricht's Subsequent Life Sentence

2015's Global Drug Survey (archive) – which collected data from over 100,000 respondents across 50 countries via platforms such as The Guardian (archive) and Fairfax Media (archive) – has revealed what most people already knew: that people are increasingly turning to online darknet markets to facilitate the purchase of drugs and use bitcoin to pay for them; 2014 saw an increase in the number of newcomers to the darknet markets; people experienced less physical violence, threats to personal safety, blackmail and threats to reveal one's identity when buying drugs online and more often received the correct product. However, darknet marketplace participants experienced more theft, pricing volatility and waited longer to receive their orders. Questions and data released in the report include:

When did you first buy drugs online?

2000 – 1.6%
2001 – 0.8%
2002 – 1.4%
2003 – 1.5%
2004 – 2.2%
2005 – 2.2%
2006 – 2.4%
2007 – 3.1%
2008 – 4.1%
2009 – 4.9%
2010 – 7.9%
2011 – 7.5%
2012 – 13.0%
2013 – 16.4%
2014 – 25.3%

Percentage of dark net market users who reported using them to buy the drug:

MDMA powder – 37.2%
LSD – 30.3%
MDMA pills – 30.3%
Cannabis, hydro – 24.9%
Cannabis, herbal – 17.8%
Cannabis, resin – 14.9%
Cocaine – 14.8%
2CB – 13.9%
Magic mushrooms – 13.5%
Ketamine – 11.5%

Dark net vs alternative source

Percentage reporting the following

Experiencing physical violence
Darknet – 1.3%
Alternative source – 7.3%

Threats to personal safety
Darknet – 3.3%
Alternative source – 17.9%

Darknet – 1.6%
Alternative source – 3.2%

Revealing identity
Darknet – 3.1%
Alternative source – 6.3%

Losing money due to market seizure scam or theft
Darknet – 27.7%
Alternative source – 10.9%

Losing money due to currency volatility
Darknet – 31.2%
Alternative source – 4.1%

Waiting too long to receive a product
Darknet – 49.8%
Alternative source – 21.2%

Product does not contain the expected substance
Darknet – 11.1%
Alternative source – 40.8%

The survey – founded by British addictions psychiatrist Adam Winstock (archive) – claims that despite the shut down of Ross Ulbricht's Silk Road in 2013, the number of drug purchases on the darknet markets increased from 15,000 to 45,000, but that the increase in orders is attributable to a shift in the way drug users purchase their drugs instead of an increase in the number of people using them. The report also shows that the cost of drugs such as MDMA and Cocaine remain most expensive in countries such as Australia and New Zealand where the price is double the global average.

One thought on “Online Drug Trade Booming Despite Silk Road Shut Down & Ulbricht's Subsequent Life Sentence

  1. The justice system is a joke. They hand down such a stiff sentence to "make an example", to "send a message".

    The "example" they make is of what not to do, (like don't keep a diary that could later be used against you) and the message is simple: just be careful and don't get caught.

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