Cryptomarkets: An Actor-Network Perspective on dark web based black marketplaces
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The purpose of this qualitative study is to explore the challenge posed by the growth of so called ‘cryptomarkets’ on the dark web; sprawling black markets that evade the law and surveillance through the use of heavy encryption and untraceable cryptocurrencies, so as to create a better understanding of how cryptomarkets function in general, viewing them as unique networks. To do this, data was gathered from four major dark web cryptomarket websites and their forums, and data regarding the original Silk Road 1.0 cryptomarket was compiled. The following analysis and discussion lead to the understanding of cryptomarkets as sophisticated and technological networks whose existence is grounded in central elements of our modern society that explains why they are so difficult to defeat. This study is meant to add to the nascent discourse and literature on the subject of surrounding the security challenges posed by cryptomarkets, and help those seeking to counter them.