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Report: Netherlands Dominates the Darknet Drug Trade

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:50 PM
Rebecca Campbell
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:50 PM

A new report has found that when it comes to selling drugs online, the Netherlands is one of the leading countries selling drugs through darknet vendors.

Silk Road

The report, Internet-facilitated drugs trade  [pdf] was undertaken by the Dutch justice ministry and looked at the size, scope, and the role the Netherlands plays in the online drugs trade.

The role of the Internet as an avenue for people to utilize to buy and sell drugs first gained attention during Silk Road. However, even though it was taken down by the FBI in October 2013, it wasn’t long before replicas replaced it.

According to the Dutch report, there are approximately 50 so-called cryptomarkets and vendor shops and the Netherlands occupies a crucial position in the European illicit drugs markets.

Data from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) suggests that the Netherlands is the main producer of MDMA, ecstasy and herbal cannabis, and is a key distribution hub for cannabis resin and cocaine.

Cannabis Revenue Low for Dutch Vendors

Bitcoin Cannabis

Interestingly, the study found that only 10 percent of drugs revenues for Dutch vendors was generated by cannabis with Dutch vendors shifting around 11 kilos a month, just 2 percent of the total global volume of cannabis that the study identified on cryptomarkets.

However, the analysis found that a majority of the listings by Dutch vendors were for ecstasy-type drugs at 42 percent while cannabis was only listed at 15 percent.

A Higher Proportion of Vendors

Dutch darknet vendors are only the fifth largest vendor by country after the U.S., the U.K., Australia, and Germany.

Yet despite this, the Netherlands seems to have a substantial concentration of cryptomarket vendor activity with 13.4 vendors per million population compared to the U.S. with 2.8 vendors per million population and the U.K. with 5.3.

When it comes to drugs, the Netherlands appear to be the undisputed market leader. How long this will remain is to be seen as the growth of online darknet marketplaces continues to rise.

Images from Shutterstock.