The internet layer that’s accessible via the Tor browser was instrumental in the growth of Bitcoin in its early years. Since then, darknet marketplaces have proliferated, but have come to play a lesser role in the development of cryptocurrencies. In this roundup we consider two recent research papers that provide an insight into features, benefits, and hazards of the deep web.
Monitoring Vendor Migration to Dream Market
In the wake of Operation Bayonet, a law enforcement exercise that shut down the Hansa and Alphabay markets, many vendors flocked to Dream instead. Dream is the longest standing darknet market (DNM), and saw an influx of new vendors and buyers in the wake of 2017’s Operation Bayonet. A recent research paper has tracked the movement of sellers to Dream, and monitored subsequent changes in their behavior.
The researchers from the Delft University of Technology tracked vendors who used the same PGP key to verify their Dream accounts as they had on Alphabay and Hansa. They found that Alphabay brought in 50 percent of new vendors, while just 2 percent of Dream signups arrived from Hansa and 8 percent joined from both DNMs.
As Deep Dot Web reports, “66% of the users migrating to Dream Market did not take any noticeable evasive measures. However, 20% of users changed their PGP-keys, 8% changed their usernames, and 6% did both.” For now, Dream Market appears to be thriving: the platform, which accepts BTC and BCH, boasts 98.35 percent uptime and has been active since late 2013.
Why Use the Deep Web?
In a week in which Craig Wright has attracted criticism for, among other things, asserting that Bitcoin is not anarchist, anti-state, or permissionless, it’s worth considering why people use tools such as the deep web. Many bitcoiners believe darknet marketplaces to be a legitimate use for cryptocurrency, and strongly defend the right of individuals to transact on DNMs.
A new paper from an Indian researcher has outlined some of the pros and cons of using the deep web. In addition to highlighting the darker side of the deep web, the paper identifies benefits it provides that include anonymity and identity concealment, freedom of expression, bypassing blocked sites, knowledge and awareness.
It concludes: “The deep web will continue to perplex and fascinate everyone who uses the internet … the dark web is a vast portion of cyberspace, and offers invaluable resources that should not be overlooked by serious searchers. [It] provides an easy way to connect with people of parallel interests, and to facilitate further interaction.”
What other benefits do you think the deep web provides? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.