Drug Trends has identified, crawled (or ‘scraped’), extracted, categorised and analysed drug listings on cryptomarkets on a weekly basis since 1 February 2014. This summary reports on trends in the availability and type of substances sold on the internet via cryptomarkets from 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2020.

An accompanying public online interactive data visualisation is available, allowing viewers to interact with data collected over the total monitoring period. Data presented here comprise number of listings and number of vendors observed in a given week.

We have supplemented the data visualisations with:

  1. A Summary document outlining key findings from 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2020; and
  2. A Methods document outlining the background to this program of work and the methods underpinning data presented.

Key Findings

  • For the period of monitoring 1 February 2014 to 31 January 2020, 63 cryptomarkets were monitored, and 59 cryptomarkets closed down. The largest monitored markets were:
    • Dream Market: monitored from 1 November 2014 to 28 March 2019 (4 years and 4 months). At its peak, the market hosted 68,179 drug listings and 2,823 vendors (28 March 2019).
    • AlphaBay: monitored from 14 February 2015 to 1 July 2017 (3 years and 5 months). At its peak, the market hosted 27,115 drug listings and 1,805 vendors (24 June 2017).
    • Empire Market: monitored from 18 April 2019 (ongoing). At peak, the market hosted 31,620 drug listings and 1,780 vendors (23 January 2020).
  • The average number of cannabis listings observed each week increased by 404% from 2,970 in February 2014 to 14,964 in January 2020. The average number of MDMA listings observed each week increased by 391% from 1,605 in February 2014 to 7,887 listings in January 2020.
  • Despite the transient nature of many cryptomarkets, there was a 25% increase, on average, in the number of drug listings scraped per week in January from one year to the next (2015-2020).

Use of the data

Please note that any presentation of these data should include acknowledgment of Drug Trends at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, University of New South Wales.

Citation: Mathur, A., Man, N., Bruno, R., Barratt, M. J, Roxburgh, A., Van Buskirk, J., & Peacock, A. (2020). Summary of monitoring of cryptomarkets for drug listings, 1st February 2014 – 31st January 2020. Drug Trends Bulletin Series. Sydney: National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, UNSW Sydney.

Funding

Drug Trends is supported by the Australian Government under the Drug and Alcohol Program.

Queries

Contact us at drugtrends@unsw.edu.au with any queries.

Resources

Author(s)

Anant Mathur, Nicola Man, Raimondo Bruno, Monica J. Barratt, Amanda Roxburgh, Joe Van Buskirk, and Amy Peacock
Date Commenced
08 Apr 2020
Resource Type
Drugs and New Technologies (DNeT) Bulletins