The economy of the dark web is driven by its ability to resist the enforcement of laws prohibiting the trade of particular items.
Drugs are the primary commodity on sale there, but vendors are also available for weaponry, stolen financial details, and images of child sexual exploitation.
Following the British assessment that the Kremlin was behind the attempted murder of former Russian intelligence agent Sergei Skripal, a number of alternative hypotheses began to cite the dark web.
One claimed that the nerve agent used to poison him – one of a series developed by the Russian state called novichok – could have been reproduced by organised criminals and sold to someone else with a grievance via the dark web.
Cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows found plenty of drugs manufacturing guides available on the dark web, but there was no indication that these covered chemical weapons.
Equally, there was no suggestion that chemical weapons themselves were being sold on dark net markets.
Becky Pinkard, Digital Shadows' vice president of IT and threat intelligence, explained to Sky News there could be a number of reasons for that.
"Part of it is dependent on the consumer market approach, on consumer demand. The market for chemical weapons is tiny compared with the market for fake currency or drugs.
"The other angle is the return on work for the criminals, and the kind of sentencing and prison time associated with that risk.
"The time to be served for developing and selling a nerve agent means that the risk outweighs the reward, and the challenge regarding transporting the material is very difficult."
There is a thriving chemical research community that exists and is active on the dark web, Ms Pinkard told Sky News, which informs people of how to build their own drugs laboratory in a similar fashion to the television show Breaking Bad.
These "mainly focus on the production of MDMA", according to Ms Pinkard, and are resistant to talking about manufacturing poisons.
In 2015, a software programmer from Liverpool was jailed after attempting to purchase the toxin ricin from an undercover FBI agent in the US.
The fear that the attempted procurement of materials which could be used for terror purposes will result in a sting operation is even common among jihadist forums, Ms Pinkard told Sky News.
Terror group al Qaeda had designed a poison gas bomb which it intended to detonate in the subway system of New York, although this attack did not take place.
Digital Shadows told Sky News that one of its ex-military staff members was involved in handling dangerous materials as part of his military career.
They reported him saying: "You would need significant skills to develop a chemical weapon and not kill yourself. There's no guarantee you wouldn't harm yourself or screw up in the process."
Stewart Bertram, the director of threat intelligence at Digital Shadows, told Sky News: "If nerve agents are being sold, then we're not seeing it.
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"We're not specifically looking for it – we're a cybersecurity company," he added, but chemical weapons groups were definitely not among the thriving economic communities on the dark web.
"If you get involved in that kind of thing, you'll have every agency in the world coming after you."