From time to time, darknet markets initiate bans on certain types of products depending on the preference of the admins after taking various factors into account.
Among the most notable products to have been banned by some markets in the past are the sale of weapons and X-rated content.
The ax seems to be slicing through more categories with the latest instance happening in Dream Market, where the admins initiated a ban on fentanyl.
In a screenshot obtained by Dark Web News, one of the market administrators going by the name “Gowron” posted in the forums stating that from May 20, 2018, the market would not allow the sale of fentanyl and carfentanyl.
Users are further urged to report to the admin in the event they come across listings that push for the sale of the banned product.
In most cases, vendors who do not comply with the terms and conditions set out by a given marketplace end up having their accounts suspended or terminated for good.
If the case is severe, they lose all their funds and do not get a refund on the vendor bond if there was one.
The Effect of the Ban
Currently, Dream Market is the top marketplace in the darknet community.
The position was gained after the fall of AlphaBay Market, which happened in July of last year in a coordinated law enforcement takedown.
In every business, there are others that outperform the rest in terms of customer base and profitability.
In the case of darknet markets, drugs are among the most profitable areas of demand, and the ban by Dream will affect several vendors engaging in the trade of the product.
Given the fact that fentanyl is among the most consumed opioids, the ultimate effect is that there will be a decline in terms of profits for the opioid sellers and a reduction in commission for the admins (which are customarily obtained after the sale or purchase of a good or service).
Is the Ban a Solution?
In the past, other markets such as Hansa, which suffered the same fate as AlphaBay, and Heroes League also banned the sale of fentanyl, but what transpired is that consumers ended up shifting to other sites.
When the two above mentioned darknet markets initiated the ban, Dream Market was an alternative, and now that the number-one hidden site has followed suit, other markets will remain an option for the clients.
Because of this, it can be noted that the ban may have a trivial effect since there are still other venues to get fentanyl and other drugs with more potency.
Also, it has been reported that for the past few years, the crackdown on prescription opioids by the U.S. government has not had any effect on darknet drug sales.
What has actually transpired is the consumers of opioids have opted to switch to the dark web since there is a wide variety of choices.
And depending on the type of drug, dose and potency they wish to have, they can quickly obtain it without much hustle by just making payments with cryptocurrency.
In the business perspective, opioids are regarded as habitual goods, and no matter how the price increases, there will be little to no change in the quantity demanded.
Dream Vendors Selling Fentanyl Can Switch to Messaging Apps
Also, vendors who previously sold the opioid on Dream will still have the option of making offline communications by the use of encrypted and secured messaging apps with clients, a practice that is widespread among darknet users.
The only issue with using anonymous apps is that it can expose the customer to risks of fraud, which is something that occurs on a frequent basis when users interact outside of darknet markets.
Since offline communications ultimately lead to the vendor requesting for offline payments, the market will not be able to protect the victim in the event they have been scammed.
Most darknet markets have put in place specific measures to ensure that their platforms are not used in whatsoever manner to defraud others.
Among them is the use of an escrow system, which requires the customer to place a “No-Finalize Early” until they are satisfied that the order is as expected.
However, and despite all the measures, it is still the case that some market customers leave negative reviews on vendor profiles and other darknet-related forums about how a particular vendor or market offers dubious services and does not do much to protect the buyers, who are their main source of income.
Dream Market Moderator Apprehended
In the past, Dream Market operators, vendors and even buyers have been caught on the wrong side of the law.
In one very famous instance that caught the attention of international media, a former Dream Market moderator popularly known as “OxyMonster” was arrested in August 2017 at a U.S. airport while attending a beard competition.
After a series of investigations and court appearances for the past few months, OxyMonster, whose real name is Gal Vallerius, pleaded guilty to money laundering and drug charges, and is to spend up to 20 years behind bars. He will be sentenced in September of this year.
Darknet Markets on the Watch
Judging by the exceeding frequency of drug crackdowns, law enforcement personnel undertaking dark web-related operations are training harder in order to curb the menace. Because of this, more arrests may ensue.