Schneier points out this paper (pdf) reporting on patterns the researches found by listening on on the IRC channels where evil-hackers buy and sell credit cards numbers, bot-net rentals, and the other commodities of the spamming and identity theft industry. The authors refer to the actors in this market as miscreants. I guess I can’t really call this a miscreant market; since we usually name markets not after their participants but after the commodity exhanged; as in meat market.
This market is interesting as a case study. Since it’s commodity is illegal it has a harder time condensing out hubs for the exchange to rendezvous around. They use IRC channels because that medium is a bit more peer to peer than other choices. I presume that this community is the one that will finally build a real anonymous peer to peer IRC network. Well pseudo-anonymous because like any market they need to have a reputation bank of some kind to keep the books of the repeating prisoner’s dilemma.
Had to write this. I couldn’t reisist getting the word prisoner, miscreant, and evil-hacker all together in a posting about market structure; mentioning peer-to-peer is desert.