Major darknet marketplace, Dream Market, has recently ban the sale of fentanyl. The message was posted in the market forum by one of the moderators known as “Gowron.”
Even though they posted this message at the end of the first week of May, it did not come into effect for another two weeks since the memo stated that as of May 20, no vendor would be allowed to sell the type of drug.
Gowron’s message is categorically clear that all vendors should remove all listings of the said drug and if any member of the site comes across any listing that sells the opioid, they should report it with immediate effect.
Below is a screenshot of the message from Gowron on the Dream Market forum.
Is the Ban of Fentanyl the Ultimate Solution?
The matter can be looked at from a broader perspective, but the real question is whether it will reduce the menace brought about by the drug due to fatal overdoses.
There are other marketplaces in existence which have not yet initiated the ban of the fentanyl and as such, Dream users are likely to migrate to other darknet markets.
So, therefore, people will still have other options, and from the writers’ perspective, this is not the ultimate solution because it has a very minimal effect.
The other thing is that the market vendors and buyers still have the option of using anonymous messaging platforms which have gained significant popularity and preference over the years. For the case of Dream Market, it is not any different.
A look at the marketplace reveals that several sellers have left their contact details on their vendor profiles, making it easy for buyers to contact them without necessarily logging in to their Dream Market account.
Therefore, the drug vendors will remove the drug listings from their profile and further urge those who wish to purchase fentanyl to order it directly by use of messaging apps.
The end effect, though trivial, is that Dream Market will end up losing a certain proportion of the revenue they earn from commission generated after a sale.
Given that drugs are among the most profitable businesses in the dark web, then it is evident that there will be an effect.
Dream Market Vendors and Operators Under Watch
It is evident that Dream is the biggest market in the darknet community. Because of this reason, the authorities are at the moment trying as much as they can to bring down the site by whatever means possible.
Before Dream gained its position as the top market, there was AlphaBay, which was seized alongside Hansa Market in a joint operation by law enforcement agencies in different parts of the world.
The operation that brought down the two mega-markets is regarded as the most successful in the history of darknet markets.
But even after a major darknet crackdown, more people get involved in darknet markets by simply creating new ones.
What makes it even worse is that the number of law enforcement personnel participating in curbing crime is not growing at a proportionate rate.
And for this reason, the rate of crime-related activities keeps on growing as compared to the people who get arrested and prosecuted.
Some of Those Involved In Dream Market Arrested and Prosecuted
Despite this, all hope is not lost as there are several instances where authorities have apprehended people involved in Dream Market’s operations by either buying or selling or operating as an admin.
In one of the cases that got international media attention, a former Dream Market moderator popularly known as OxyMonster, whose real name is Gal Vallerius, just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time when he was arrested at the airport while attending a famous beard competition in the U.S.
After months in and out of court, Vallerius pled guilty this month in a move that could see him spend up to 20 years in federal prison.
However, he will not be the first major operator of a top market to end up behind bars. When Silk Road Market was seized by law enforcement in 2013, the founder—William Ross Ulbricht, who went by the name Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR)—was arrested and is now serving a life sentence.
In yet another instance involving a Dream Market vendor, a former postal employee based in Maryland pleaded guilty to drug-related charges last month. The man, known as Cory Skinner, operated a vendor account on Dream going by the name DoggFood. Skinner dealt with heroin, cocaine and synthetic opioids including fentanyl.
Then there’s also a San Diego man known as Sky Justin Gornik, who operated on several markets including Dream Market. Gornik was an established vendor from the days of AlphaBay Market, a sign that he has been in the business for years.
It is ordinarily typical for vendors to set up multiple accounts on different markets in a bid to attract more clientele. In most cases, they use the same username and listings make it clear to all that visit their profile.
The case was evident during the seizure of AlphaBay and Hansa. Since AlphaBay went down first, a spot check on Hansa showed that vendors who previously operated on AlphaBay already had vendor accounts on the market.
For those who never had an account on Hansa and other darknet markets, they rushed to create new profiles in a deliberate bid to continue their business.
The end effect is that there was an influx of registrants that “forced” Hansa to close registration for a period of one week. All this was a game plan by the security personnel involved in the operation.
It is just a matter of time until it will be known if Dream Market will sail through the wave riddled with hurdles of all sorts.