This past week Bitcoin.com reported on the Alphabay darknet marketplace going offline while many speculated an exit scam. It’s been close to a week now with no signs of the underground market coming back online, which could lead to a severe loss of bitcoin for those holding money there.
Alphabay Goes Missing for One Week and Will Soon to Lose Its Position as the Top Recommended Darknet Market
The infamous darknet marketplace Alphabay has been a darknet leader for a couple of years now as the biggest online market on the deep web that lists illicit goods. According to the Deepdotweb publication, the marketplace has maintained a 93 percent approval rating but has been offline for the past six days. If the underground website is offline for a consecutive two weeks, the Deepdotweb owners will remove the market from its recommended markets sidebar. Additionally, as we reported last week, an Alphabay “public relations guy” named ‘Trappy,’ posted on Reddit and warned users of the appearance of faux Alphabay phishing sites but did not explain the reason behind the market’s current downtime.
Antsy Alphabay Customers Race to Alternative Markets and Search for Their Vendors
Since then other darknet markets like Dream, and Hansa have been catering to a lot more new users. Due to the extreme amount of new registrants, Hansa market stopped accepting new customers and since then some individuals have been offering to purchase accounts from registered users. The dedicated Alphabay subreddit is filled with people telling jokes about exit scams, people looking for their old vendors, and those looking to get into alternative darknet marketplaces. Further people believe customers are particularly antsy because Alphabay has been known for catering to harder drugs while other markets like Hansa peddle more marijuana sales.
The Two Most Popular Speculated Theories
An OPSec Error
There have been a couple of theories to what has happened to the largest darknet market since the Silk Road. One individual that goes by the name ‘Kinger’ and was once an Alphabay vendor says he revealed the identity of an Alphabay staff member named ‘Desnake’ to the media. Kinger says he has doxed darknet members in the past and signed the message with his digital signature and described his perception of what went down.
“Hello, guys Kinger here. I would like to inform you Alphabay has exit scammed because of me,” explains Kinger. “Desnake has been doxed by me because he made an OP-Sec error and after I contacted him about the error, I think he made the decision to burn everything.”
An alleged vendor from Alphabay has also confirmed a possible OP-Sec (Operations Security) leak and details he will be soon providing “hard proof” that “it’s over.”
“Because of a personal security mistake, the admins decided to crumble. I’ve been in contact with someone on the staff, and it sounds like it was a 50/50 split — The money is gone. I highly doubt they will give it back, but I’m willing to put some pressure on them. This one administrator — if he thought hard enough — he would know who I am, and that this is a serious piece of information. I kindly ask that he returns BTC to some vendors who have been loyal to him, and made him rich originally. This is very important. I know there is no such thing as a “good-hearted” person on the Darknet, but at least pay your dues, brother.”
Global Law Enforcement & the Ongoing Darknet Investigations
Another current theory is how law enforcement may be getting closer to busting staff members of many underground marketplaces. In Quebec, last week members of global law enforcement agencies like the FBI, the Royal Canadian Police (RCMP) and others found some significant darknet market evidence. Computer seizures took place and also a related arrest in Thailand, the RCMP declared. However, the agencies did not disclose what the Quebec operation was officially about except investigators were hunting a worldwide network of connections associated with the “dark web.”
Customers Still Crossing Their Fingers but the Outlook Seems Grim
There have been many speculations across the market’s forums, and nobody knows the real story. Some still think the marketplace will return and others simply believe it’s been way too long, and Alphabay staff walked away with millions worth of bitcoins and monero. Even though the deep web market was the biggest, it didn’t offer multi-signature wallets and other security benefits smaller markets provided. For instance, the third most popular darknet market Hansa has multi-signature wallet protection and has also paid customers 10 BTC bounties to find bugs in the market’s system.
Moreover, people are watching many wallets that have been allegedly associated with the Alphabay’s operations by speculators. Some of which contain thousands of bitcoins but until a lot of customers come forward with loss reports, it’s hard to say the extent of the damage if the market has officially exit scammed. For now, even after one week with no word from official staff Alphabay customers are crossing their fingers hoping their favorite market will return, but the outlook seems grim.
What do you think about Alphabay going offline for a whole week with no official reports from staff members? Let us know in the comments below.
Images via Shutterstock, Pixabay, the Deepdotweb, r/alphabaymarket.
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