When the original Silk Road was shuttered down last year, most people thought that drug dealing on the Dark Net would finally cease to a halt, or at least, slow down for a while. But of course, they were wrong. Just a month after it was shutdown, Silk Road 2.0 came into being, supported by previous admins of the original marketplace and headed by a new “Dread Pirate Roberts.”
Now, the new site holds 5% more listings than its predecessor during the time it was busted by the FBI. Among the Dark Net marketplaces that sprouted up after the shutdown of the first Silk Road, it is one of the most popular, with more than 13,000 listings.
The Allure of the Dark Web’s Largest Drug Marketplace
It’s not the anonymity that attracts most people to Silk Road 2.0, but the familiarity. The site, instead of looking like a shady Web 1.0 website, has a look and interface that is reminiscent of popular “legal” online marketplaces like EBay. It even has a cart and ratings system that seeks to make new buyers feel even more at home with the site.
Since the sellers on the site heavily depend on their ratings to stand out from the competition, they usually go above and beyond the usual buy-and-sell routine and would often offer discounts, specials, and free package delivery to their customers. This is something that you wouldn’t find in traditional drug deals on the street. Positive feedback is the oil that keeps the whole community going.
Making the Drug Market Safe
Researchers from the University of Montreal and the University of Manchester have also pointed out that marketplace on Silk Road 2.0 is free from the complications and violence that often accompany drug markets in real life. Cutting the traditional middlemen and transplanting the drug industry online seems to have put a positive spin on the whole marketplace and made it “safe” than doing a street deal.
At any rate, Silk Road 2.0 shows absolutely no signs of stopping at this point.