The pandemic has reshaped the demand for goods and services worldwide. Economic stress, the public health emergency and disinformation-driven panic have pushed customers, and vendors, towards the shadow economy. Dark Web Marketplaces (DWMs), commercial websites easily accessible via free software like Tor, have acquired significant popularity. They accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to broker transactions often involving drugs, weapons, and other illicit goods.
We monitor dark web trading of COVID-19-related goods and services. We analyse listings on DWMs to detect changes in types and prices of COVID-19-related goods and services (e.g., face masks, prescription drugs, scams). And we also investigate Bitcoin (or other cryptocurrency) transactions involving DWMs to quantify policy-relevant changes their activity and / or customer behaviour.
The research is supported by the "COVID-19: Monitoring the effects of the pandemic on illicit online trade" project funded by the ESRC and developed in partnership with Flashpoint, Chainalysis, and The Alan Turing Institute.
Andrea is a Reader at the Department of Mathematics of City University London, Economic Data Science theme lead at The Alan Turing Institute, and Research Associate at the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies (CBT).
Angela joined City’s Business School (formerly Cass) in 2018 as a Lecturer at the Department of Finance. She is currently a member of the Centre for Banking Research.
Alex is an Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Oxford, a Tutorial Fellow at St. Catherine’s College, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School.
Matthieu is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Mathematics at City, University of London.
Alberto is a PhD student in the Department of Mathematics at City, University of London, under the supervision of Dr. Andrea Baronchelli.
Damon McCoy is an Associate Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at New York University's Tandon School of Engineering.
Max is a PhD candidate in the Center for Cybersecurity at New York University Tandon School of Engineering, under the supervision of Dr. Damon McCoy.
Ian is the Director of Americas Research and Analysis at Flashpoint, and an Adjunct Professor at Fordham University.
Philip is the Chief Economist at Chainalysis Inc.