Although the dark web has been around for some time now, the general public is only beginning to grasp the depths of it. Darknet sites can’t be found on Google and aren’t indexed in a traditional manner. Have you ever wondered how criminals and legal entrepreneurs alike make money on the dark web?
Many of the sites and markets on the dark web are used for illegal/shady purposes such as selling illicit substances, hacking services, gambling, or selling stolen goods. However, some legal methods of making money on the darknet include selling cybersecurity services, selling art, advertising, web hosting, and legal gambling.
In today’s post, I will show you the top 10 methods that people use to make money on the dark web (legal and illegal). Hopefully, this will give you a better perspective about how the deep net works and why its legal status has been up for debate for so long.
Let’s take a look!
10 Ways To Make Money On The Dark Web
Before we begin, I want to start by saying that this article is for informational purposes only. In no way, shape, or form do I condone illegal activities. As I mentioned, people who use the dark web for business are primarily doing so because they are doing something against the law or have something to hide from the authorities.
My only goal is to inform you about some of the most common types of businesses found on the dark web. For the sake of virtue, I’ve tried to include as many legal methods as possible.
**Important** Protect Yourself On The Dark Web
Also, keep in mind that the dark web is full of hackers and may be a dangerous place for inexperienced browsers. Before using the Tor browser to access the dark web, make sure that you have a solid antivirus/firewall program running on your device. You may also want to deactivate or cover your microphone and webcam in the event that a hacker does gain access to your computer.
Last but not least, if you’re going to be surfing through the dark web, make sure that you’re using a VPN service. A Virtual Private Network is essentially a program that re-routes your IP address through a foreign country so that you can’t be tracked. This will prevent you from being tracked by hackers or those with malicious intent.
Now that we’ve got the disclaimer out of the way, it’s time to take a “deep dive” into the deep web (sorry, couldn’t resist making a corny joke here)!
#1- Offer Ethical Hacking Services
As I mentioned, the dark web is full of hackers. If you’ve ever seen the hit TV series Mr. Robot. In that case, you’ll remember how the hacking group “fsociety” uses the darknet to communicate with each other, hack organizations, and blackmail them.
While hacking is usually thought of as an “illegal” activity, that’s not the full story. Such is the case when it comes to “ethical hacking.” In fact, many large companies hire these ethical hackers to try to hack through their systems and exploit any weak spots so that their cybersecurity team can strengthen them!
#2- Offer Hosting Services
If you’re computer savvy and have access to a computer server, you might consider converting it for use with I2P (The Invisible Internet Project). Here’s a quick guide on how to configure a server for use on the darknet.
Once your server is up and running, you can run some advertisements on other darknet sites and offer webmasters the ability to host their .onion sites using your servers.
#3- Sell Illicit Substances
The dark web is notorious for its many underground drug markets. While drugs are legal in some countries (such as Amsterdam, for instance), they are illegal in most countries. If you happen to be in an area where illicit substances have been decriminalized or have been made legal, then you can join one of these dark web marketplaces, create an account, and start selling.
#4- Sell Electronics
Due to trade tariffs, some countries don’t have access to certain types of technology. You can take advantage of this and sell phones and laptops through the dark web that aren’t available in these countries. In Russia, for example, iPhones are not sold in stores. A used iPhone’s value can often be doubled or even tripled by selling it in certain foreign countries.
#5- Sell Cybersecurity Services
Just as you could sell your hacking services, you can also sell your cybersecurity services! There are businesses and individuals worldwide who want to make sure that their sites and databases are safe and secure and will pay you for your services.
#6- Create A Bitcoin Casino
Bitcoin has become very popular since Cash App and Robinhood started allowing their users to purchase and invest in Bitcoin in-app. If your country allows gambling, you can start a dark website with online casino games or create an online sportsbook where players can wager Bitcoin on their favorite teams and sporting events.
#7- Create And Promote A Film Website
If you’re an alternative artist or filmmaker, then you could film your own movies and offer them for sale or download on your very own dark website. Since the dark web isn’t as regulated, your films wouldn’t be subject to removal or administrative action like they would be if you posted them on YouTube or another popular streaming site.
#8- Generate Ad Revenue
If you create a popular dark website, then you can monetize it for ad revenue, just as you would with a clearnet site or blog. Simply place a large banner on your site that says “advertise with us!” or something similar. You can then charge other dark web businesses and sites money to advertise on your site.
#9- Create Your Own Dark Web Search Engine
If you’ve got some programming skills, then why not use them to create a dark web search engine! Although there are a few search engines already being used, many of them are slow or glitchy. If you could create the next best dark web search engine, then you could make plenty of money through ad revenue (just like Google does)!
#10- Hack And Report Criminals
If you’re a skilled hacker, then you could always use your skills for good! Organizations such as the FBI often pay good money for tips regarding wanted criminals. If you can manage to hack into the profiles of known criminals using the dark web, then you could forward information to law enforcement agencies and receive compensation in return.