Following yesterday’s post on Bitcoins, today we look at what many see as the real problem: online black markets.
Whereas Bitcoins are the currency, the eBay-like online black markets are the virtual backrooms where the transactions are made.
How are these sites able to operate outside the confines of the law? Simple: by remaining anonymous and staying off the search engines.
Ironically, these sites use the same key principle as the Twelve Steps: anonymity. Using a network of servers dedicated to remaining anonymous, online black markets list their products like any other auction website.
How do people buy drugs online, though? That, too, is simple.
Please note: there are a few steps being left out of the process below intentionally; purchasing items from these sites without knowing how to remain anonymous online will very likely get you arrested!
That said, for those who know how to remain anonymous online, it is a very simple process.
Using prepaid credit cards obtainable at any big box pharmacy, a person just uses that to buy Bitcoins or any of the other normally accepted cryptocurrencies [Bitcoin just happens to be the best-known].
In all honesty, to the best of this author’s knowledge, none of these sites refuse legal items, but really, that’s not the issue.
This may make people on edge for addiction related reasons, but really, it is a potential national security risk as well. Many online black marketplaces are not only committed to selling drugs online. Instead, they have avenues to sell everything from forgeries, fake IDs, guns, hacking software, retail tag removers (albeit, that, probably isn’t as much of a “national security” issue) and just about anything that would be considered questionably-legal to downright, blatantly illegal.
That brings us back to the issue from the last blog as well: is it even worth it to try keeping these things/this stuff illegal? Personally, this author believes it is worth it.
Statistically, fighting addiction is a losing battle, but does that mean we stop? Of course not! That said, if we look at the number of addicts and alcoholics that are out there, the number of people who know where to go for help, the likelihood of getting clean and sober of that number, and that long term recovery is exceptionally rare—yeah, the odds are not good.
For those that benefit, though, ask them if they believe the odds were not worth the costs associated.
Just because something cannot always be enforced doesn’t mean it should be legal. Murderers are not always caught, but no one would dispute that murder should remain illegal.
In a sense, providing something potentially lethal to someone who will knowingly be ingesting it is not much different.
One thing is for sure, though: addicts and alcoholics will always find new ways of getting high and where to get those substances.
Eventually, the police will shut down most of the drug operations online, just like they did in the 80s and 90s. Just like it happened then, there will always be those willing to fill in the void.