In the past, notable dark web markets moved to voluntarily ban the buying and selling of fentanyl – a synthetic opioid with enough strength to kill hundreds of users at low dosage.
At the time, the darknet markets resolved to delist the dangerous painkiller by categorizing it to be among weapons of mass destruction that are way too high-risk to sell. Point to note, fentanyl is reported to be 100 times more potent than other narcotics such as heroin.
Also recently, in March 2020, cyber intelligence firm Digital Shadows conducted a study about response of the darknet community to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the Digital Shadows report, while a significantly high number of dark web vendors had decided to take advantage of the raging pandemic to scam oblivious users, a number of dark web user reactions seemed atypical to the cybercriminal wave.
Some markets, such as White House Market, have since banned the sale and advertisement of fake coronavirus remedies that were being peddled by persons seeking to profit from the global public health crisis. Interestingly, some users were willing to offer guidance on health and safety guidelines surrounding COVID-19 management.
The above situation was coupled with expert observation about the existence of darknet-hosted ransomware operators that had chosen to spare health institutions from their spate of attacks targeting big industry players, including government agencies, hospitals and private entities.
Here’s What You Can’t Buy or Sell on Top Dark Web Markets
As we’ve seen above, dark web marketplaces are not the much-though lawless platforms without standard operational rules.
Even as the markets continue to facilitate the illicit trade in some banned narcotic drugs, software tools, and hacking-for-hire services, it is quite noticeable that the top dark web markets do not support the extremes – including human trafficking, murder-for-hire services, weapons of mass destruction sales and online content relating to child sex abuse.
Often described by news websites as the “tiny darknet market with big inspirations”, Monopoly Market does not seem to have a specific list of banned items although drugs seem to rule its listings.
Nonetheless, sometimes in April 2020, the Monero-centric darknet market announced that it would permanently eject any users attempting to sell purported COVID-19 drugs.
A tweet published by dark web writer Eileen Ormsby showed the screenshot to a message posted by the market’s operator in expression of Monopoly’s warning to vendors “caught flogging goods as a cure” to the COVID-19 viral disease (See Below).
A twitter post made by dark web journalist Eileen Ormsby shows Monopoly Market's warning to vendors (Source: Twitter)
The warning by Monopoly Market came hot in the heels of a rapid rise in COVID-19 related scams being propagated by scammers and cybercriminal elements across the dark web sites.
Otherwise, apart from fake COVID-19 drugs, Monopoly does not accept the sale of benzodiazepines, ecstasy, prescription and psychedelic drugs, and stimulants. The fact that Monopoly vendors must go through an approval process for items for sale means that the other categories of dark web wares, including weapons and fraud tools, are banned at present.
White House, Darkmarket, Versus Market & Hydra
Of all the above-mentioned dark web marketplaces, the Russian Hydra market happens to have the most stringent set of rules to govern user behavior and operation- possibly due to concerns about legal ramifications.
Otherwise, all the four dark web marketplaces have banned the sale of weapons of mass destruction and items intended to cause human physical and mental harm.
White House and Darkmarket have outlawed the sale of child sex abuse materials, while Versus market does not support the sale of pornographic content under any category.
In terms of murder-for-hire services, White House, Darkmarket, Versus, and Hydra have banned the advertisement of services leading to the assassination of people.
Further, fentanyl has been banned by all the above dark web marketplaces.