By  for The Guardian. Drug dealers are turning from goons to geeks in a trade that is increasingly being conducted online, says a report by the European drugs agency.

Research into internet drug markets by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) suggested the self-regulation of online markets such as Silk Road provide a safer environment for users and dealers of illicit substances.

Feedback mechanisms similar to eBay mean customers are able to hold dealers to account for the service they provide, the report said, while remote access to the market almost eliminates the risk of violence that has long been an integral part of the black economy.

As a result, online drug dealers are more likely to need good customer service skills and a persuasive way with words than muscles and a tough reputation.

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