Darknet markets consist of websites, which are in many ways similar to other online platforms that facilitate trade, such as eBay or Amazon. The key difference is the anonymity afforded by accessing darknet markets. Access to such markets can be achieved in a number of ways. The earliest modern online anonymous markets, often referred to as darknet markets or cryptomarkets, appeared in early 2010. The first darknet market of notoriety was Silk Road.
This joint report prepared by the EMCDDA and Europol considers the latest findings from international research, fresh empirical data, and operational information and intelligence in order to illuminate how darknet markets function and how they relate to criminal behaviour. The publication adopts an EU focus of what is a global phenomenon.