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Blockchain Technology Can Power the Next Dark Web-based Marketplace the FBI Can Never Seize.

With blockchain technology, a fully decentralized and truly anonymous dark market could soon be in existence. The idea is that a fully decentralized marketplace protocol would enable sellers to encode their location on the Blockchain, and allow potential buyers to buy goods and settle the payment to the seller in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The dark web is commonly referred to as a hub for illegal and illicit activities. In light of some arrests made over the sale of illegal goods on the dark web, the need for a fully decentralised alternative has become apparent. Many of these markets shut down after law enforcement caught up with the owners and closed up shop.

However, the golden era of the dark web is just getting started. Law enforcement views the fight against the dark web as a deceptively simple battle, but blockchain tech is about to turn the tables.

Following the fall of the Silk Road, mainstream media made it seem like law enforcement agencies had finally outsmarted Bitcoin enthusiasts. However, people quickly discovered that using dark web hosted Bitcoin wallets was a safer alternative for making untraceable transactions. 

So when the feds took down one site, two more would spring up almost immediately to replace the former, the market is unstoppable.

Blockchain startups are coming up with proposals for a decentralized marketplace for online trade. These new platforms will offer users a number of unique features including unparalleled security, privacy, and freedom.

By introducing a native token for each platform, as it has become a standard blockchain feature, users, developers and curators will be hugely incentivized to spend and provide value to the token. When it comes to vendor discovery, vendors can use the native tokens to pay for promotional services on the decentralized marketplace.

Once an online marketplace becomes fully decentralized, the platform’s users will be able to avoid platform fees as payments are settled in a variety of cryptocurrencies, most of which offer little or no transaction fees. An even more unique feature is enabling communication through anonymous mechanism to communicate such as the Bitcoin testnet which is used by developers to test Bitcoin-related applications.

However, there are potential drawbacks that these proposals will need to address. The most significant is the lack of a reliable reputation system. The decentralised marketplace will have to address the issue of seller forging successful sales by creating fake buyer identities. 

We are after all talking about the digital black market. The market for illicit goods including stolen identities. Thus, to attract users, identity within the platforms will have to be hard to manipulate. Identity analysis tools will have to be built into these applications.

After a stream of arrests, dark web vendors are changing the model of doing business. Blockchain technology presents a new paradigm for dark web marketplaces to outpace law enforcement. It will take time for law enforcement to catch up and by then, new innovative models will spring into action.

Sources:

https://www.bbc.com/news/av/technology-24378137/fbi-shuts-down-silk-road-website

https://cryptovest.com/features/cryptocurrency-usage-in-dark-web-and-underground-markets-cryptovest-investigates/

https://blockonomi.com/decentralized-darknet-markets/

Last modified: April 3, 2019

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