Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: The Vaccines

21 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2021 Last revised: 10 May 2021

See all articles by Alberto Bracci

Alberto Bracci

City University London - School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Matthieu Nadini

City University London

Maxwell Aliapoulios

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Damon McCoy

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering

Ian Gray

Fordham University

Alexander Teytelboym

University of Oxford

Angela Gallo

Independent

Andrea Baronchelli

City University London - School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; City University London

Date Written: February 10, 2021

Abstract

The ongoing COVID-19 vaccination campaign has so far targeted less than 10% of the world population, and, even in countries where the campaign has started, many citizens will not receive their doses for many months. There is clear evidence that previous shortages of COVID-19 related goods (e.g., masks and COVID-19 tests) and services pushed customers, and vendors, towards illicit online trade occurring on dark web marketplaces. Is this happening also with vaccines? Here, we report on our effort to continuously monitor 164 dark web marketplaces. By April 20, we found 214 listings offering a COVID-19 vaccine, 77 of which offering officially approved vaccines and 25 fabricated proofs of vaccination. The number of currently active listings is 34, including eight listings offering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, six the Moderna, two the AstraZeneca/Oxford, two the Sputinik V vaccine, and nine offering fabricated proofs of vaccination. Illicit trade of uncertified COVID-19 vaccines poses a concrete threat to public health and risks to undermine public confidence towards vaccination.

Keywords: Vaccine, COVID-19, Dark markets, Illicit products, Shadow economy, Bitcoin

JEL Classification: C00, C80, C82, Y80, D40, D20

Suggested Citation

Bracci, Alberto and Nadini, Matthieu and Aliapoulios, Maxwell and McCoy, Damon and Gray, Ian and Teytelboym, Alexander and Gallo, Angela and Baronchelli, Andrea, Dark Web Marketplaces and COVID-19: The Vaccines (February 10, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3783216 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3783216

Alberto Bracci (Contact Author)

City University London - School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

Matthieu Nadini

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom

Maxwell Aliapoulios

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering ( email )

6 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Damon McCoy

New York University (NYU) - NYU Tandon School of Engineering ( email )

6 MetroTech Center
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://new.engineering.nyu.edu/faculty/damon-mccoy

Ian Gray

Fordham University ( email )

113 West 60th Street
Bronx, NY 10458
United States

Alexander Teytelboym

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Angela Gallo

Independent

Andrea Baronchelli

City University London - School of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

City University London ( email )

Northampton Square
London, EC1V OHB
United Kingdom

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