Dmitry Nosov, a leader of the Russian social public organization “Antidealer”, said during the interview to a radio station: “We have a very important task – to bring drugs trafficking back to the streets, away from the Internet”. What made the Russian darknet so attractive for both sellers and customers? In this article we shall try to answer this question.
Hydra marketplace has become the largest Russian DNM. Unlike any other Western market Hydra requires vendors to pay a rent. At the moment it is 0.023396 BTC (around $400) a month, a discount is offered in case you pay for 3/6/12 months at once. The rent payment along with 5% of market commissions leads to higher prices. Hydra gives a possibility to pay a purchase in rubles with the help of integrated exchange services, however only Qiwi (electronic payment system) is accepted. An exchange is performed manually by a manager within 30-180 minutes time frame, which depends on an exchange service chosen. Currently there are 11 exchangers available, and they accept small amounts (starting at $1.8) for trading.
Another interesting feature implemented is a “guarantee service”. It can be used only for preorders. A vendor and a customer discuss terms of a transaction in a “transaction chat”.
After reaching an agreement, a customer transfers funds to the guarantee wallet. A vendor must provide a video/photo of stuff and its package, after if he ships an order via postal or courier service or hides it in a dead drop. The guarantee solves disputes based on his experience and terms of a transaction. The guarantee’s decision is final and cannot be challenged. The commission varies from 3% to 10% of a transaction amount. The market’s guarantees are Battleship and Ketanov, they work daily from 12 PM to 10 PM.
Along with a forum, Hydra has an official Telegram channel where market news and updates are posted.
Black Market also offers integrated BTC exchange service. Here are only two exchangers but you can sell and buy bitcoins.
Paradise market is notable for the shortest time of escrow – orders are auto-finalized in 36 hours after marked as “shipped”. This fact makes vendors to use only dead drops to deliver orders. Courier or postal service delivery is ignored due to its low popularity, however, according to the admin, this method is not excluded, but a customer should open a dispute until a purchased item arrives in order to be protected from scams. For a vendor this option is undesirable because all data about opened disputes is stored and shown to customers. On the screenshot below you can see “A user’s global statistics” with a section “disputes” (всего споров).
Paradise market also provides photo hosting functions and has a heading where worldwide drugs related news are published on a regular basis.
Most darknet stores are large commercial companies and a hiring staff with different skills. Senior staff include PR and HR managers, operators who deal with customers and finances. Delivery of goods is carried out by carriers and dead droppers. Carriers transport drugs in bulk amounts countrywide. Authors of the ads published on Hydra market claim that a carriers’ salary starts from $8,300 and is almost unlimited, all travel expenses are covered by a shop. “LUXURY SHOP” requires making a $830 deposit in order to get 1,000 grams of drugs for transit. In case of a successful delivery a carrier is paid $8,300 per each 1,000 grams.
Dead droppers are also required to make a deposit (which starts from $1.6) in order to get hired. Although some stores offer a deposit waiver and ask for ID instead. Droppers are paid for hiding small quantities of drugs in dead drops. Their work is risky but not difficult. First of all they receive dope using a postal or courier service, then they hide packages in places of their choice and message operators about coordinates of “treasures”. Dead droppers are paid once a week or twice a month and can earn $4,000 a month.
Graffiti makers are employed to promote a shop. On RuTor darknet forum there are vacancies both for stencillers and graffiti makers. One stencil ordinarily costs $2.5.
A graffiti banner price is higher – $3.30 or more.
An employer pays for supplies as well. After a job is completed a graffiti maker files a report in which photos and GPS coordinates are included.