According to a study by the Lisbon-based European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the drugs that are bought on the dark web could reduce harm for users since of the higher quality of the substances. The report also says that significantly less criminal activity is involved with online drug sales than with street deals. The monitoring centre examined the rise of dark net markets, their impact on society, along with gangland crime and law enforcement. According to them, ”winning a good review as an online vendor from customers can be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections” on the street.
The report also says that numerous drug wholesalers are using the dark net to sell their stuff to potential buyers, however, the online sale of substances does not provide an alternative for ”traditional criminal methods” in the case of large shipments. For example, heroin and cocaine trade require face-to-face meetings between gangs and cartels based on “trust and a ruthless system of sanctions”.
The institute based in Lisbon states that the growing popularity of the Tor browser had helped dark net markets to become much more popular among people.
What researchers found out was that the “quality may be superior” to drugs bought from street dealers and that they are ”less prone to contamination”. According to the study, out of 129, 120 samples of drugs bought online (93%), the “drug that customers thought they had purchased was the only psychoactive substance detected”. Cocaine samples were just about 70 percent purity compared to an average of 38 percent of street samples that were seized in the United Kingdom in 2013.
The report states this about the violence of dark net drug deals:
“The new type of drug dealer is also likely to be relatively free from the violence typically associated with traditional drug markets.” The researchers also mention the importance of “conflict reducing features” like escrow.
Also, reputation on the dark web and on the street differs:
“In the drug cryptomarket era, having good customer service and writing skills and a good reputation via feedback as a vendor or buyer may be more important than muscles and face-to-face connections,” the study says.
The monitoring centre researchers also made this statement:
“Numerous gangland killings occur in Europe as a result of drug transports that have gone wrong. Owing to these mores and the enormous financial interests that hinge on the success of each transaction, it is not likely that the primary negotiations will take place over the deep web.”