Darknet certainly sounds scary and it kind of is. Ordinary citizens and whistleblowers often find refuge in this obscure part of the internet in order to protect their privacy rights. However, the very privacy the darknet affords is also being put to more sinister uses, especially crime such as illegal drug and arms trafficking.
The latter is estimated to be worth anywhere between $1.7 to $3.5 billion, equivalent to about 10 to 20 percent of the legal arms trade. Unsurprisingly, all sorts of guns are finding their way onto the darknet from pistols to high-powered assault rifles.
A study from the RAND Corporation
analyzed the size of the firearms trade on global cryptomarkets, finding that the darknet has indeed increased the availability of firearms for similar prices to the illegal street trade
. The United States is the most common source country for arms sales on the darknet, accounting for 60 percent of the listings analyzed last year. Despite that, Europe actually represents the largest market for firearms on the darknet with revenues around five times higher than the United States. At country level, Denmark had the second highest share of darknet firearms vendors (12.98 percent) followed by Germany (5.31 percent).