Henry, an intrepid 26-year-old from Glasgow, doesn’t really care for the Internet. Not because of the way it melts your brain or pits complete strangers against one another, but because he can’t find any drugs on it.

So, at the behest of his friends, he was driven to the Darknet — systems of underground networks where untraceable bitcoin purchases reign supreme. Now, it’s his favorite source for illicit substances, a place where drug users like him can mingle with someone looking for a hitman or join groups with bizarre sex fetishes too risqué for Pornhub.

“It was hard to find drugs, especially quality ones, from reliable sources,” Henry says, asking we not use his last name for obvious reasons. “Buying (drugs) from relatively random guys on the streets was a pain in the ass — the stuff was often shit, you had to wait around a lot of time, the market could dry up, not to mention getting scammed which, even though rarely, has happened a couple of times.”

He had heard about the Darknet in the past, by friends who were using it to find drugs at reasonable prices without the trouble of hanging out in sketchy alleyways. They eventually convinced Henry to use it himself.

“A friend of mine who used it from time to time told me about it,” he says. “My instinctive response was ‘No way.’ But he was a good friend of mine I could trust, and after some convincing, I decided to give it a try.”

Yet even with a trusted friend navigating the onboarding process, crossing over to the dark side wasn’t as easy as hooking up a router and turning on a device.

“In order to do the transactions, you need to give your ID card details, which was something I wasn’t too comfortable with, obviously,” he says. “Not to mention all those stuff I had seen in the movies like hackers looking through your camera and learning everything about you. But it was nothing like that.”

Digging deeper in, Henry realized the anonymous online playground closely resembles other shopping site models, like Amazon — transactions founded on mutual interests … respect even.

“First of all, you buy bitcoins, so you don’t worry about your bank information at all,” says Henry. “Then, it’s just not in anybody’s interest to screw you over. You pay for the stuff, but the money is withheld by a middle party. Only when you leave a comment, basically verifying that the stuff was real, does the dealer get the money. It’s just not in the dealer’s interest to scam you.”

And shockingly, the way the system is set up encourages better customer service from dealers, each vying for trustworthy clients that come back for more.

“Buyers and sellers leave each other feedback, which is very important to both, making the whole thing even more solid,” explains Henry. “I like the stuff, I leave good feedback, which increases the dealer’s rating, which obviously increases people’s trust in him, and brings him more work. Buyers have ranking too, based on dealers’ feedback. The higher your rating, the more offers and dealers you have access to.”

It's a beautiful display of symbiosis. Why, indeed, would anyone want to fuck anyone else over when the name of the game is to secure repeat customers?

“I have received free stuff a few times as well,” adds Henry. “With big orders — like when me and my friends are going to a festival or something — dealers would add a nice bonus, like a couple pills, sometimes from the same type you’ve ordered, sometimes from something different they have in stock. Good stuff, too.”

Henry’s customer satisfaction hasn’t always been the highest, but in what capitalist world exists perfect experiences?

“I’ve received some relatively mediocre stuff a couple of times, but nothing completely fake or anything like that,” Henry says.

Claiming the Darknet is a moral Disneyland, wrought with the goodness of people while the normal Internet is nothing but a meeting point of strangerly scum is a bit reductive. However, a paradox exists there — an irony for the Darknet, a surprisingly comfortable and well-ran marketplace of rather indecent consumables.

Consider these, excerpts from seller pages on Evolution, a former Darknet market:

“We are a team of libertarian cocaine dealers. We never buy coke from cartels! We never buy coke from police! We help farmers from Peru, Bolivia and some chemistry students in Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. We do fair trade!”

“This is the best opium you will try, by purchasing this you are supporting local farmers in the hills of Guatemala and you are not financing violent drug cartels.”

Comcast better step its game up. …