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With $22 million in annual sales and around double the commission for the site’s owners compared with just six months ago, its black market business is booming.
In a research paper (PDF here) released earlier this month, Carnegie Mellon computer security professor Nicolas Christin has taken a crack at measuring the sales activity on Silk Road’s underground online marketplace, which runs as a “hidden service” on the Tor network and uses tough-to-trace digital Bitcoins as currency, two measures that have helped to obscure its sellers, buyers and operators from law enforcement.
His findings: the site’s number of sellers, who offer everything from cocaine to ecstasy, has jumped from around 300 in February to more than 550. Its total sales now add up to around $1.9 million a month. And its operators generate more than $6,000 a day in commissions for themselves, compared with around $2,500 in February.
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