At LSE drug dealers sell weed for Bitcoin
The times they are a-changing.
If your image of drug dealing is two people meeting in secret in a dingy side street or an even dingier public toilet to exchange grubby brown envelopes, then you’re wrong.
Dealers at LSE now shift their merchandise using Bitcoin, QR codes and mobile portals.
Although Bitcoin seems nerdy, most dealers have apparently adopted it because it’s an instant and untraceable method.
And when you’re trading in a business which doesn’t see eye to eye with the law, it’s an understandable precaution to take.
LSE dealers are reportedly not the first to adopt the out there strategy. American student Ross Ulbricht was arrested for online anonymous drug trafficking in October 2013, he reportedly earned $1.2billion, all paid for using Bitcoin.
First the buyer goes to an agreed location, scans one of the QR codes found around campus and sends payment. They then only speak to the dealer to confirm transaction, making it totally faceless and contactless.
The Bitcoin method also erases the need to carry cash.
All very well, I hear you say, but how does a buyer know that a dealer is available and can be relied on to deliver? That’s a good question, and something that bothered my friend Josh when he first encountered the system.
Josh, an LSE student who uses the system said: “Anyone who has ever tried to pick up knows dealers can be extremely unreliable.
“Sending money up front to a shady dealer you have never even seen sounds like a laughable joke”.
The techy system has allowed student dealers to handle their sidelines more effectivly too.
Another LSE buyer, Ryan, said; “My dealer, let’s call him N, has always been unreliable, but he has good stuff and decent weight. N is also a student and is often busy with his university life, so he has put together a clever little website which tells me what he has, his working hours, and if he has clocked in or not.”
The Bitcoin system allows students to rate their dealer and choose their strain based on what their dealer has in stock. The system also automatically logs you out once the deal has been completed.
The buyer enters their phone number, so the dealer can text once the product has been dropped, and there is no need for back and forth communication.
Some dealers are now so confident in the improved service they provide that they print QR codes on bags that actually solicit tips and ratings. Buyers are encouraged to tip the dealer if he supplies good stuff, and to provide feedback on the quality of the weed and the dealer’s level of service.
Buyers can also vote for the strains they would like to see the dealer supply in the future.
A local LSE dealer told us: “Drug dealing is an old business, and in order to survive, everyone is always changing.
“Growers and smugglers have changed but up to now dealers haven’t really changed at all. They carried on taking the money and providing the product with the same risk and level of service as always.
“But now the process has become safer and more efficient. I can now serve more people as I no longer have to wait around for others to show.
“Payments come in and I make my rounds.”
The dealer we spoke to says the concept has taken off at LSE beause of the competition among dealers.
“Anyone who doesn’t keep up is going to lose their customer base.”
He couldn’t tell me what dealers are doing in other locations because he doesn’t have any experience as a buyer, but his online searches into the system have drawn a blank, so he thinks the LSE system is unique, adding that he was taught all about it by other guys who are local.
Nobody knows who originally came up with the concept, or brought it to LSE.
As for the technical side of things, he admitted as he isn’t a programmer, he had to hire external help.
He said: “It’s been a big investment, but not one that I regret. I recruited a few programmers from the dark web.”
Dealers at LSE, like the one we spoke to, have to pay rent for their servers to sell their gear.
“No reputable hosting company is going to let anyone openly sell drugs on their servers. And there is a problem because most phones aren’t set up to access the dark web.”
This means that LSE buyers scanning QR codes are lead to a proxy site – something our dealer claims was his idea.
What he really likes about the system is the service he can give to his regular customers. They just send him some Bitcoin, and if he recognises the Bitcoin address, he drops the product off at their normal spot for them to collect when they’re ready, with no texting required.