Home > An EU-focused analysis of drug supply on the online anonymous marketplace ecosystem.

Christin, Nicolas [EMCDDA] . (2017) An EU-focused analysis of drug supply on the online anonymous marketplace ecosystem. Lisbon: European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. 25 p.

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Online anonymous marketplaces are a relatively recent technological development that enables sellers and buyers to transact online with far stronger anonymity guarantees than on traditional electronic commerce platforms. This has led certain individuals to engage in transactions of illicit or illegal goods.


This reports presents an analysis of the online anonymous marketplace data collected by Soska and Christin [13] over late 2011–early 2015. In this report, we focus on drug supply coming from the European Union. Keeping in mind the limitations inherent to such data collection, we found that, for the period and the marketplaces considered:

  • EU-based suppliers represented a significant share of all drug revenue—approximately 46% of all drug sales.
  • EU-originating drugs primarily came from Germany, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
  • Cocaine and other stimulants altogether represented a majority of all EU-based drug sales.
  • Supply of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS) was heavily concentrated in the United Kingdom, and remained very modest with revenues in the order of EUR 3,000 per day at market peak.
  • Marketplace vendors primarily catered in the retail space, but there was evidence of larger (bulk-level) sales. Volume-based discounting tended to occur, albeit at relatively modest levels.
  • Half of the vendors specialized in one type of drug; and half of the drug sellers tended to stick to a given weight echelon.
Item Type:Evidence resource
Publication Type:Report
Drug Type:Alcohol or other drugs in general
Pages:25 p.
Publisher:European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
Place of Publication:Lisbon
Accession Number:HRB (Electronic Only)
Subjects:MM-MO Crime and law > Substance related offence > Drug offence > Illegal distribution of drugs (drug market / dealing)
MP-MR Policy, planning, economics, work and social services > Marketing and public relations (advertising) > Internet retailing (online sales / dark web)
N Communication, information and education > Information technology / Digital
VA Geographic area > Europe

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