Dark Web Market Bans Sale of Fentanyl
UPDATED 20 July 2017
Who says criminals have no morals?
Darknet market Hansa, which will likely replace AlphaBay as the largest marketplace for illegal substances, credit card information and other items on the Dark Web after the latter’s recent seizure by law enforcement, announced yesterday it will no longer allow vendors selling fentanyl or substances mixed with fentanyl use its platform. Those caught selling it will be immediately banned.
Fentanyl is an opioid many times stronger than heroin. It is often pressed into pill form by vendors and sold as Oxycontin or similar. When the user takes the drug thinking it’s oxy, he or she unwittingly overdoses.
The ban is in contrast to the largely libertarian leanings of those running and using such marketplaces. The effort to rid darknet markets of this deadly drug is another show of morality and self-regulation among the community. Before this action, bans only covered people trafficking, underage pornography, weapons and the like. Indeed, this may be the first banning of a substance.
Few would expect those who have much to earn — darknet market administrators—from the sale of drugs to ban this one. The darknet community is split over the decision. However, a vocal group of marketplace buyers on Reddit has been advocating for such a ban for quite some time. There is also the feeling among market users that law enforcement will focus fewer resources on markets that are not contributing to the opioid overdose epidemic. Some, of course, oppose the banning of any drug on the marketplaces.
It remains to be seen whether fentanyl vendors will set up shop at another darknet marketplace, such as Wall Street, Dream or elsewhere, and how the ban will be implemented to deter those selling the drug under false names from joining Hansa.
UPDATE 20 JULY 2017:
News released today and a check of the Hansa market onion link confirm that Hansa has been seized by law enforcement. They have had control of the site for a month or more, according to reports. Thus, it is likely the ban on fentanyl was instituted by law enforcement.