Unless you have been living under a shell or in digital detox all your life, chances are that you are familiar with the phenomenon of the ‘dark web’. It may come as a surprise to you but the thousands of sites that you view and access all the time are only at the surface level of the web, which barely makes up for 2% of what actually lies out there.
Next comes the deep web. While both these terms may seem synonymous to you, the deep web is actually the vast, subsurface portion of the internet encompassing everything that’s not crawled by conventional search engines, and is mostly made up of paywalls, expired sites, and personal records. The dark web, however, is a purposefully obfuscated subsection of this, linked to shady activities but can also prove to be a useful platform for privacy activists living under oppressive regimes, among several other things.
How do I access the dark web?
In order to access the dark web, you will need an anonymized proxy network. The two most popular tools in this particular toolbox are Tor and I2P. Tor is the more widely used alternative. Tor is an anonymity network that hides your identity as you browse the web, share content, and engage in other online activities. It encrypts any data sent from your computer so that no one can see who or where you are, even when you’re logged into a website. Tor is an acronym for The Onion Router, and it was created by the US Naval Research Laboratory in the mid-Nineties.
The easiest way to use Tor is through its dedicated browser, which is available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux (it can be run from a USB stick if you don’t want to install it on your computer). The Tor browser is based on Firefox but disables plugins that could compromise your privacy and security. It won’t clash with other softwares you have installed, but you may need to configure your antivirus program or firewall to allow it access to the internet.
The Tor window will look like a normal browser window, but you can now use it to access sites with a .onion suffix. Coming across these sites isn’t a matter of searching Google – you’ll need to find specific links. What’s more, the addresses of these links tend to be a cluster of seemingly random letters, so it isn’t always entirely clear where they’re leading you.
Buying drugs from the dark web
Once you are familiar with the know-hows of the dark web, you can buy practically anything there, from credit card numbers and all manner of drugs to guns, counterfeit money, stolen subscription credentials, hacked Netflix accounts, and simply what not. Whether because of adulteration stories or the present pandemic, buying drugs from the dark web has never looked so appealing. Even if you still have a regular in-person dealer that you trust, they may not know what they are selling, or, for that matter, be able to find a supplier whose gear isn’t compromised.
It is widely noted that dark-web drugs tend to be of better quality, and that buying in this way reduces some risks. In short, dark-web markets could be a form of harm reduction. Dark web marketplaces aren’t the lawless Wild West many newcomers might assume them to be. Comprehensive review systems hold vendors accountable.
When you buy from an in-person dealer, you don’t know that much about what they are selling. Virtually all your information comes from the seller. Because of how quickly transactions happen, especially on the street, you don’t even have a way to verify anything. For all you know, the dope could be a bag of crushed aspirin! But when you buy online, you can read reviews and look at the forums. You’re able to do the research before you buy—just as you might with a new blender or lawnmower. This adds a layer of safety.
One obvious point is the challenge, however, for people without technical know-how is to be able to access the dark-web marketplaces through the necessary software. Similarly, you have to become a semi-expert on Bitcoin. After all, you can’t exactly use Paypal or your credit card to pay for illegal drugs. Bitcoin’s anonymous nature is both its greatest virtue and worst flaw. If you accidentally send it to the wrong address, you’ll never get it back. The same goes for Bitcoin stolen by hackers. There’s also the problem of the currency’s constantly fluctuating value.
No method of acquiring illegal substances is perfect. Still, some happen to be safer than others. Dark-web markets do have their risks. But reviews and forums give buyers more power, as does the escrow system. By offering so many options, these sites also just make it easier for psychonauts to explore what’s out there. Some of us who use drugs are lucky enough to have physical access to a safe supply. For everyone else, dark-web marketplaces are a pretty reasonable idea.