Monday, October 19, 2015

The Darknet is going mainstream

Over the past few years, the Darknet has entered the general public’s consciousness. This is has largely been the result of criminal and activism activities. For me personally, it was the use of Tor by anti-Assad protesters and Wikileaks. The FBI’s take down of Silk Road brought the drug dealing aspect to the fore front as well as the bitcoin currency. 

As stated in the Tedtalk, the Darknet is likely to become more mainstream. However as this happens I believe the Darknet will lose some of its current characteristics. For example it is likely that as the Darknet gains in popularity mainstream companies will start using it. I would not be surprised to find mainstream advertisements on the Darknet in not too long. I could see amazon plugging in a “Buying fair trade cocaine? Can we interest you in some fair trade coffee” ad. 

I was highly amused to see that even drug dealers are misinformed on fair trade. I also wonder if the fair trade cocaine is of lower quality than the non-fair trade one, and whether the drugs actually obtained some kind of fair trade designation. 

From an economist perspective, the Darknet is a treasure trove. Economists use computer games to test microeconomic theory, and Darknet is showing similar potential. An interesting aspect of Darknet is the self-regulation that appears to occur there, which makes it a prime research ground for behavioral economics.  

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