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Drugs

The UK Is the European Leader in Deep Web Drug Deals

We're second only to America when it comes to buying our bits online.

by Carlton Férment
10 August 2016, 11:22am

Someone doing some dodgy dealings - online. (Photo: Wikimedia user Colin, via)

Me oh my, aren't we a naughty bunch of druggies? In a recent study conducted by RAND Europe, a not-for-profit research institute, the UK came top of the pops for deep web drug trafficking.

We're second in the world, behind, obviously, the USA, with Germany and the Netherlands trailing behind in third. Though the Dutch haven't managed to exceed Brits in the pill-popping-plant-smoking stakes, they do have a particularly high concentration of web dealers in comparison to other countries, with 13.4 vendors per million people (the UK is 5.3).

Since the famous Silk Road was shut down in 2013, and its founder Ross Ulbricht, AKA Dread Pirate Roberts, sentenced to life imprisonment, drug sales on the deep web have soared to triple the amount. The most commonly sold drug on there is weed, and a quarter of the listings are worth more than £768 (or $1,000), which suggests that a bulk of them are being purchased for real life redistribution.

The sale of drugs on cryptomarketplaces on the deep web generates £16 million a month, which sounds like a lot until you compare it to the £1.7 billion in monthly offline sales in Europe alone.

Most of this online trade is intra-continental. "That was somewhat surprising to us, because it's sometimes claimed that the internet facilitates global trade and I think we've shown that, at least thus far, that doesn't seem to have been the case," said Stijn Hoorens of RAND Europe, one of the head researchers. "It seems that within North America revenues, within Oceania, and within Europe, revenues are much bigger than those between those continents. We can only speculate about why that is the case, but I think if you look at the importance of cannabis still on cryptomarkets ... that is often produced locally."

British dealers, while not as numerous as their American cousins, are working twice as hard and producing double the amount of transactions per month. There's that Blitz spirit I've always heard so much about!

More from VICE:

The Deep Web Could Make Human Smuggling Safer

Is It Time to Hide from the Queen on the Internet?

Cyber Criminals Hate Brian Krebs So Much They're Sending Heroin and SWAT Teams to His Home

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