In our recent work we have shown that dark web marketplaces (DWMs) are online platforms that promote the emergence of direct user-to-user (U2U) pairs. That is, some users of the same DWM interact directly among themselves, without using a DWM as intermediary.
We thoroughly investigate the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the evolution of U2U pairs, by analysing 31 million Bitcoin transactions among users of 40 DWMs until Jan 2021. COVID-19 pandemic has had only a temporary impact on U2U trading, which trading volume in United States dollars sharply increased all over 2020, see panel a. Similarly, the number of new U2U pairs created thanks to DWMs was stable all over 2020, see panel b.
COVID-19 has fueled the emergence of new decentralised trade around DWMs. Their trading patterns have shown resilience to the systemic stress caused by COVID-19 and continue to prosper all over 2020.
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M. Nadini, A. Bracci, M. Aliapoulios, A. ElBahrawy, P. Gradwell, A. Teytelboym, A. Baronchelli. Emergence and structure of decentralised trade networks around dark web marketplaces. Preprint arXiv:2111.01774 (2021)
Wed Nov 03 2021