Within the past few weeks, illegal contraband sales have increased by over 700 percent, depending on the source. After notorious Silk Road was forced to close their doors by the U.S. government earlier this year, the other seven competitors realized an immediate surge in sales.
Not a small market, Silk Road’s purported 12,000 users are being snapped up by Black Market Reloaded (BMR), Sheep Marketplace, Budster, Black Flag (beta), Deep Bay and Drug Market to the tune of millions and possibly billions. Silk Road was said to have garnered 1.2 billion in sales since 2011, although this figure has not been substantiated.
Sheep Marketplace and Black Market Reloaded (BMR) claim to be the biggest beneficiaries of the Silk Road closure. BMR cites almost doubling their number of drug listings, while Sheep Marketplace claims to have experienced its biggest surge since inception. Sheep Marketplace is known to have a sexier, more efficient website, while BMR is known for its coding.
Writer Heisenberg2.0, from the Atlantisblog.org, conducted a full-scale review of the up-and-coming-sites and offers, “On the business side of things the site [Sheep Marketplace] is booming and seems to be the fan favorite among the Silk Road diaspora thanks to its sleek interface, product search and filtering features and near lack of downtime in the days following the Silk Road seizure. It’s my opinion the new Silk Road [2.0] site is going to be the one to watch and for second place it’s a total free for all.”
Launched in 2011, BMR has been coming in second until the Silk Road closure. Riding high on its strong coding, BMR experienced a security breach a couple days ago that nearly had a permanently negative effect. When news of the breach got out, activity temporarily stopped.
Shortly after, owner/founder, “backopy” posted an update, “After reviewing my code over and over I came to realize that I can still put it back up. I know I’ll now be facing direct hits to secondary files, but they’re all well protected and even if the attacker gets the source, won’t be able to do much other than look at it.”
BMR was back up and running by Friday morning, using a new url that can only be opened when using Tor – an anonymizing web browser. However, “backopy” announced that all transactions would cease for a full day so users could take care of their personal profiles in the event a real breach ensued. By yesterday, life on the black market was back to its normal clandestine sales chain.
Considering that over 147 million people worldwide use cannabis every year and over 310 million guns are owned in our country alone, it is no surprise that this black market trend and fight for market share will continue.
Why? Because everything illegal is always available. From hacking tools to heroin to handguns, the black market will thrive and there will always be platforms from which purveyors can sell. Opinions vary widely as to which will win out – politics or commerce?