A qualitative mapping of Darkweb marketplaces

Research output: Contribution to book/anthology/report/conference proceedingArticle in proceedingResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Darkweb marketplaces have evolved greatly since the rise of the Silk Road in 2011, the first platform of its kind, and have become a highly profitable underground trading ecosystem, which provides anonymity for both buyers and sellers. Law enforcement along with researchers, have been successful in taking down marketplaces over the years. However, the combination of mechanisms implemented by these platforms (e.g. payment mechanisms, cryptocurrencies, trust systems), along with the success of the Tor network's anonymity properties, have made marketplaces much more enticing to users, while providing ease of access and use, as well as resilience against hostile actions. Through qualitative methods, this paper presents a mapping of darkweb marketplaces. We systematically investigate the operation of 41 marketplaces, along with 35 vendor shops, and gather information about the mechanisms and features implemented. Additionally, to acquire real world information, we explore the marketplaces' integrated forums, as well as 3 popular independent ones, focusing on discussions between vendors, buyers and marketplace owners, on topics related to illegal trading. We believe that gaining an up-to-date and deep understanding of the framework that marketplaces are built upon, is the first step towards discovering weak spots in the cyber security product and service market, with the disruption of its operation being the ultimate goal.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2021 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime 2021
Publication date2021
ISBN (Print)978-1-6654-8030-7
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-6654-8029-1
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event2021 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime - Virtual, United States
Duration: 1 Dec 20213 Dec 2021


Conference2021 APWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research, eCrime
Country/TerritoryUnited States
SeriesAPWG Symposium on Electronic Crime Research (eCrime)

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 IEEE.


  • cryptocurrency
  • cybercrime
  • darkweb
  • illegal trading
  • marketplaces


Dive into the research topics of 'A qualitative mapping of Darkweb marketplaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this