Hot Guns – How Blockchain Is Powering Illegal Gun Sales

People have the perception that the dark web is an inaccessible part of the internet. However, dark web markets can be accessed easily. So, for anyone who wants to hunt, or protect yourself, but just can’t get a gun legally, the dark web can be just like your regular gun store.

Recently, an international team of law enforcement conducted an operation against drugs, guns, and cryptocurrency vendors on the dark web. This resulted in 61 vendor arrests, the shutdown of approximately 50 dark websites, and seizure of some drugs, illegal ammunition, and other assets valued at nearly $7 million. Included in these confiscated assets were cryptocurrencies valued at almost $4.5 million, roughly $2.5 million in cash, and gold valued at nearly $40,000.

Clearly, the dark web is the one place where gunfire echoes are a daily norm, and the digital currency revolution is fuelling this black marketplace. Americans are obsessed with guns, especially American made, and each sale made on the black market is just a single dot in a multibillion-dollar industry. 

However, the federal government is continuously placing the marketplace under intense scrutiny. It is estimated that Americans bought approximately ten million pistols, revolvers, rifles, shotguns and other firearms in 2013 alone. However, these numbers don’t account for ammunition purchased on the black market.

For those Americans who live in states that have strict gun laws or individual citizens who fail the standard background check, which is mandatory in other states, the Dark web has become a renowned marketplace for weapon-making expertise and sales.

The future of illegal gun sales

The dark web, in pop culture, is portrayed as the preferred destination for the circulation of illegal weapons. This is also the purported source of and destination of diversion of legally owned guns. Fueling this trade is digital currencies such as bitcoin which, according to skeptics, is the currency for criminal enterprises.

So, should a blockchain-powered, peer-to-peer fully decentralized market for illegal guns and ammunition make its way into the dark web? This could be the next best online free-trade zone, entirely elusive for law enforcement agencies. This is because the marketplace will be a peer-to-peer affair with no central authority for the feds to target.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies could be used to settle payments, where sellers and buyers can exchange the digital currency for real value in currencies like US dollars. 

Under decentralized control, the platform’s buyers and sellers will benefit from the platform transparency, gain clarity on pricing models, and real-time compensation.

Additionally, if this distributed infrastructure works, efforts by law enforcement to curb illegal gun sales practices wouldn’t matter anymore. Why is this? The FBI will be forced to go after each contraband buyer and seller.




Last modified: August 22, 2019

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