The original Silkroad, which was shut down last year, was an anonymous marketplace where drug dealers used to conduct business over the internet. Just like any other darknet marketplace, Silkroad was a cryptomarket where both buyer and seller of the product remained anonymous. The virtual location and anonymity that Silkroad provided helped prevent the conflicts that most street dealers faced. Most people referred to it as the “eBay” of drugs with most of the generated traffic to the site being of drug dealers and users.
A new research conducted by the University of Montreal and the University of Manchester shows that Silkroad presented a breakthrough in the prevention of criminal activities associated with drug dealing. Most people called this criminal innovation where drug distributors used the site to source for stocks for street operations. This new breed of drug dealing is considered free from violence when compared to the traditional marketplace where drug gangs could fight over marketplace. The Silkroad provided some level of anonymity where middlemen were eliminated.
According to the research, a substantial number of transactions were between dealers and not drug users. This, in a traditional market always resulted into wars whenever they could not agree on various issues. Gun fighting could always come up which resulted in damaged to property and death to unrelated bystanders. Silkroad only used a virtual and anonymous market eliminating the possibility of face to face arguments which in most cases turned violence. Silkroad also had a customer support system where reviews and feed backs could be channeled through helping build customer trust. Products and services offered were rated the same way like in eBay. The popularity of Silkroad had tremendously grown with sales increasing by over 600% in a single year. The sales in mid-2012 were $14.4 million which rose to over $89.7 million in mid-2013. All this transactions occurred without violence with the study labeling this kind of criminal innovation“trans formative”.