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25+ Darknet Statistics, Facts, and Trends

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The Darknet is a mysterious part of the internet that few people understand.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Darknet is not solely used by terrorists and criminals for illegal activities.

Here are some current and helpful darknet statistics and facts that will help you better understand this mysterious yet helpful section of the global web.

Top 7 Statistics on the Darknet (Editor’s Pick)

  • The dark web accounts for 6% of the worldwide internet space in 2023.
  • The average direct buyer-seller Darknet drug transaction cost $8441 in 2021.
  • Bitcoin was the most popular Darknet currency in 2021.
  • Valid US credit cards cost as little as $17 on the Darknet in 2022.
  • Hacking forum users are looking to buy hacking services 90% of the time.
  • The Hidden Wiki was one of the most popular Darknet search engines in 2022.
  • Darknet hackers exposed social security data from the Washington licensing system in 2022.

Infographic

darknet statistics
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20+ Intriguing Darknet Statistics and Facts for 2023

Darknet Usage Statistics

1. The dark web accounts for 6% of the global internet space in 2023.

The surface and deep web account for 94% of all the information on the internet, while the Darknet accounts for 6%.

2. There were over 2 million daily Tor users in 2022.

There were over 400,000 daily users from the US alone, more than 50,000 daily users from the UK, and 35,000+ daily users in Canada.

3. The number of active users in the Darknet drug markets declined in 2021.

The decline was from 1.7 million users in 2016 to 1.2 million in 2021

In contrast, drug revenues have been steadily increasing over the years at an average rate of 35.7% per year.

4. The Hidden Wiki was one of the most popular Darknet search engines in 2022.

Other good Darknet search engines include Darksearch, which aims to simplify the technical challenges of accessing the Darknet and has indexed all onion platforms. 

Ahmia is another excellent Darknet search engine that shares verifiable Tor network statistics, facts, and trends while censoring abusive content like child sex.

5. The Haystak search engine received 130,000 daily searches in 2022.

With over 1.5 billion (self-claimed) indexed Darknet pages, the Haystak search engine allows users to visit over 260,000 Darknet listed addresses.

Darknet Revenue & Market Statistics

6. In 2021, Darknet markets made $2.1 billion in cryptocurrency.

Over $1.8 billion of this revenue was generated from drug sales, while the remaining $300 million came from fraud shops. In comparison, Darknet market revenue in 2020 was around $1.8 billion, and approximately $1.4 billion in 2019.

7. The number of Darknet fraud shops and drug markets fell in 2021.

The year 2021 saw five fewer fraud shops and 13 lesser drug markets than the year before.

8. Hydra was the largest Darknet marketplace by revenue in 2021.

Hydra, the Darknet market exclusively tailored for Russian-speaking users, generated over 80% of the total Darknet revenue in 2021. Hydra’s main revenue generator is the sale of drugs.

largest darknet marketplace
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9. The number of Darknet drug transactions declined in 2021.

From a high of 11.7 million drug transactions in 2016, the Darknet markets recorded a 60%+ decline to 3.7 million transactions in 2021.

10. The average value of a Darknet drug transaction increased in 2021.

In 2016, the average drug transaction on Darknet drug sites was $160, rising to over $490 worth of cryptocurrency in 2021.

11. Direct buyer-seller drug transactions on the Darknet increased in 2021.

More buyers were doing business with sellers directly and bypassing Darknet markets in 2021. Direct buyer-vendor transactions amounted to less than $25 million in 2016, rapidly growing to over $100 million in 2021.

12. The average direct buyer-seller Darknet drug transaction cost $8441 in 2021.

Additionally, the median drug client directly sent $603 to drug vendors on Darknet.

13. A large proportion of Darknet drug revenues was deposited into centralized exchanges in 2021.

Over 50% of Darknet vendor revenues in 2021 were deposited into centralized exchanges. The other Darknet vendor’s fund destinations include P2P exchanges, high-risk exchanges, and gambling platforms.

14. Bitcoin was the most popular Darknet currency in 2021.

In 2021, 93% of the Darknet markets used Bitcoins as their preferred medium of exchange. Monero, a new entrant to the Darknet market, is popular with 67% of Darknet markets in 2021, up from 45% in 2020.

Alphabay, Archetype, and Whitehouse markets exclusively deal with Monero.

15. Valid US credit cards cost as little as $17 on the Darknet in 2022.

The Darknet is the Amazon of illegal goods and services. Here are some sample prices for illicit goods and services in the Darknet markets in 2022.

Illegal Goods Price
Credit cards (with up to $5k balance) $120
USA credit card information (with CVV) $17
UK credit card information (with CVV) $20
Australia hacked credit card info (with CVV) $30
Cloned VISA cards (PIN included) $20
USA verified LocalBitcoins account $120
New York driver’s license $70
Uber driver hacked account $35

16. The Darknet drug market was worth over $27 million in 2022.

Over 60% of the Darknet markets deal exclusively with drugs. Popular drugs in these Darknet marketplaces include MDMA, Ecstasy, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crystal meth, Xanax, oxycodone, valium, Ritalin, and alprazolam.

Darknet Data Breach Statistics

17. 80% of consumer emails were leaked on the Darknet in 2021.

In 2021, 8 in 10 consumers’ email details were revealed on the Darknet

Additionally, 70% of consumer phone numbers, 10% of driver’s license details, and 7% of social security numbers were leaked on the Darknet.

darknet data leaks statistics
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18. 543 million Fortune 1000 employees’ stolen data was available on the Darknet in 2021.

This represents a 29% increase in employee stolen data on the Darknet from 2020. Additionally, 26 million plain text passwords from the same employees are available on the Darknet, a 12% increase from 2020.

19. Over 1.2 million payment card data was leaked to the Darknet in 2022.

“Bidencash,” an underground card shop, released the payment details of over 1.2 million debit and credit cards on the Darknet. The leaked dataset contained card CVVs, credit card numbers, expiry dates, cardholder’s name, complete address, date of birth, and phone numbers.

20. Hacking forum users were looking to buy hacking services 90% of the time in 2021.

Demand for hacking services on the Darknet increased in 2021, with 9 out of 10 hacking forum use cases being to look for hackers. In fact, 70% of these hacking forum ads explicitly seek access to web resources.

21. Darknet hackers exposed social security data from the Washington licensing system in 2022.

Hackers stole personal information, including social security card numbers, from over 250,000 licensed professionals in Washington. Salesforce maintained the database where the data was stolen at the time.

Other Darknet Statistics

22. Tor was developed in the 90s.

Three US naval researchers developed the Tor network in a naval research base in 1995 to maintain their anonymity on the worldwide web. However, it was deployed in 2002 and became a non-profit in 2006.

23. Creating a new US identity on the Darknet costs approximately $1267+0.2683 BTC in 2023.

This figure will cater for a new passport ($710), ID card/driver’s license ($200), social security card/number ($2-$5), birth certificate ($240), bank account ($70), credit card ($45), $5000 of counterfeit money (0.0984 BTC), high school diploma (0.0715 BTC), and a bachelors degree (0.0984 BTC).

us identity cost on darknet
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24. “The Silk Road” was the first modern Darknet market.

In 2011, Ross Ulbright launched the first modern and hugely successful Darknet market, “The Silk Road,” that offered anonymity in online commerce. The FBI shut down The Silk Road in 2013, and Ulbright received a $183 million fine plus five sentences – including two life sentences without parole.

25. Visiting the Darknet is legal in the US.

No legislation makes visiting the Darknet illegal in the US. That said, engaging in criminal activities like selling drugs, weapons, or fraud is unlawful and can lead to your prosecution.

26. “Whitehouse” closed shop in 2021.

The biggest Darknet marketplace by volume in recent times, “Whitehouse,” ceased operations in October 2021. ToRReZ and Alphabay have since become the most popular markets on the Darknet.

Wrapping Up

The Darknet allows access to information and services unavailable on the surface web. But before you plunge into this mysterious world, it is essential to note the cybersecurity threats in this internet space.

Protect yourself and maintain your anonymity on the Darknet by using a VPN service. Read more about this in our guide to VPNs for the dark web.

Interesting Reads:
References:
  1. Users – Tor Metrics (torproject.org)
  2. How Much of the Internet is the Dark Web in 2023? (techjury.net)
  3. How Many People Use the Dark Web? (websitebuilder.org)
  4. 16 Best Darknet Markets you should Lookout for in 2022 (ivacy.com)
  5. How Much of the Internet is the Dark Web in 2023? – EarthWeb
  6. 21 Intriguing Dark Web Statistics in 2022 (websitebuilder.org)
  7. 32 Dark Web Statistics 2022 (The Deep Web You Never Knew) – Soocial
  8. https://go.chainalysis.com/rs/503-FAP-074/images/Crypto-Crime-Report-2022.pdf
  9. Dark Web Price Index 2021 – Dark Web Prices of Personal Data (privacyaffairs.com)
  10. Is It Illegal To Go On The Darknet? – Cyber.Security.Awareness (cybersecurityawareness. digital)
  11. Drugs, Alcohol and the Dark Web 2022 (darkweblinks.com)
  12. Tor Project | History
  13. 2021 Report: Breach Exposure of the Fortune 1000 | SpyCloud Blog
  14. Cyble — ‘BidenCash’ Strikes Again: Over 1.2 Million Compromised Payment Cards Data Leaked
  15. Data Privacy Week and Steps to Stay Ahead of Risks (lookout.com)
  16. Identity Theft Resource Center Q3 2022 Data Breach Report: Compromises & Victims Up from Q2 – Record High Year Unlikely – ITRC (idtheftcenter.org)
  17. 23 Dark Web Statistics to Investigate in 2022 (webtribunal.net)
  18. Positive Technologies: high demand for hackers observed in 90 percent of ads related to hacking sites (ptsecurity.com)
  19. A Look at the 5 Best Dark Web Search Engines in 2022 – DarknetOne
  20. Dark Web: The Average Cost of Buying a New Identity in 2023 (safetydetectives.com)
  21. The Silk Road: an Online Black Market on the Dark Web | Avast
  22. Data from Wash. Licensing System Breach May Be on ‘Dark Web’ (govtech.com)