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Sociology: Research


Views and experiences of darknet market users

This research project is being run by Angus Bancroft. I am interviewing people who make use of darknet marketplaces to purchase illicit drugs. These are sites like Alphabay, which are accessed using TOR. We ask about how easy or difficult the markets and their systems are to use, how users evaluate quality and risk, and about their drug use more generally. 

We are looking for all kinds of people who have used the darknet. It does not matter whether you have used it once or use it regularly, we would like to hear about your experiences and your views. Many different claims are made about these markets and we think it is vital to hear directly from people who use them.  We make no judgements about people's drug use. People have many reasons for using drugs, and drug use has benefits and risks for them. The aim of this research is to hear more from them.  

The research is funded by the School of Social and Political Science and has been approved under their ethics procedures. 

Interviews are anonymous. No information is stored which can identify people involved in the study or link them to anything they say. Interviews can be conducted in person, by Skype, or by secure encrypted chat programs such as TorChat.

If you would like to be involved, or would like to know more, please email Angus at 

Findings from the project - email Angus for copies:

Angus Bancroft and Peter Scott Reid (2017) 'Challenging the techno-politics of anonymity: the case of cryptomarket users', Information, Communication and Society, 20, 497-512,

Angus Bancroft and Peter Scott Reid (2016) 'Concepts of illicit drug quality among darknet market users: Purity, embodied experience, craft and chemical knowledge', International Journal of Drug Policy, 35, 42-49,