How Cryptomarkets Work

  • Angus BancroftEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Cybercrime and Cybersecurity book series (PSCYBER)


This chapter introduces the main case used in the book: darknet cryptomarkets. Cryptomarkets are one way in which the illicit drug market and drug use cultures are mediated through digital platforms. The cryptomarket case is unusual because it is one area where the groups supporting the market control the backend, the frontend and the content. This is very different from dealers and drug users who arrange deals through social media applications where people meet and communicate such as WeChat, Snapchat, or Tinder where they have a much more precarious and contingent position. The benefits and risks lie in the development of an information-driven community of illicit drug users. Information can be anonymously posted and reviewed. Control of the backend creates a risk. Drug dealers and users are exposing at least some information about themselves, even if it is just a time of login, to the market administrators and anyone who has managed to gain access to the backend.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Social and Political ScienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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