Questions and answers about
the economy.

The shadow economy during Covid-19: effects of the pandemic on dark web marketplaces

The shadow economy is a substantial part of economic activity in normal times. During the current global pandemic, governments have imposed very severe regulations on labour, movement, goods and service markets. Therefore, we would expect that some economic activity has shifted towards the shadow economy. Cryptocurrencies have made it easy for anyone to access the shadow economy. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can be used with a reasonable degree of anonymity on dozens on marketplaces on the dark web. These marketplaces give people access to goods and services that are illegal (e.g., drugs), heavily regulated (e.g., prescription medicines) or in short supply (e.g., face masks). We propose to look at the dynamics of pricing and availability of goods and services on all active online dark web marketplaces. Our analysis will give an important insight into the shift toward the shadow economy during the pandemic and avenues for policy response.

Lead investigator:

Abeer Yehia



Primary topic:

Banks & financial markets

Region of data collection:


Status of data collection


Type of data being collected:

From private company

Unit of real-time data collection