Beating the Disinformation Drift: Facts about the AlphaBay Market

Presented at Hackfest 2017, Nov. 3, 2017, 2:30 p.m. (Unknown duration)

In July 2017, the AlphaBay market was taken down by law enforcement and the alleged Canadian mastermind behind it was arrested in Thailand. Since the takedown, various information related to the market circulated, most of them twisted, decontextualized or simply untrue. This presentation is about beating the disinformation drift by presenting an accurate and global picture of the marketplace, one that can be translated to new illicit marketplaces currently emerging.

Based on three scientific studies, the true size of AlphaBay - compared to other illicit platforms - and the market's degree of competitiveness will be presented. Then, AlphaBay's governance system along with vendors' tendency to favor local rather than international trades will be discussed. Finally, based on economic and criminological frameworks, this presentation will show that, contrary to the image depicted by the mainstream media, such "darknet" marketplaces are more likely to stay within a small size and scope.


  • Masarah Paquet-Clouston
    Masarah is a security researcher at GoSecure and one of Canada's decorated 150 scientific innovators. With her background in economics and criminology, her research's goal is to understand complex social problems that emerge from technological innovation and help society overcome them. She presented at various international conferences such as Black Hat Europe, Botconf, the International Society for the Study of Drug Policy and the American Society of Criminology. Besides doing research, she's passionate about programming, defending online privacy and discussing politics.


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