So obviously you’re here to learn how to buy something from Agora Marketplace. I don’t care what it is, nobody cares what it is. Do not say what it is. In this guide we’ll be covering the process of ordering on Agora, from A to Z. Make sure you read this whole guide before proceeding, it’s important that you understand each and every step. This guide is for buyers of personal amounts, if you’re reading this and thinking of vending or buying to resell you should think really damn hard about what you’re about to do.
Part 1 – Preparing
USE A VPN SERVICE. You can find one here to best suit you, we review the best VPN Services for privacy on the market. Every time you use your computer your IP address is shown which reveals your actual physical address which means you can be traced very easily. A VPN must be used along with Tor (Tor is the free browser explained below) to make your online activity anonymous. When using a VPN Service it will hide your identity and location while also encrypting all of you internet traffic from everyone including your internet service provider.\ This technology will also protect you from identity theft and hacking when using free wifi because everything is encrypted. Any time you are searching for music, movies to download, pirated content, drugs or anything illegal then you should be using a VPN to fly under the radar. The law is trying to monitor everything we do now so don’t make it easy for them, don’t end up like the original mastermind of Silk Road and get busted. This is a must have in your anonymous arsenal.
The first step is to set up your environment. The following is absolute minimum to keep yourself safe when buying personal amounts. Once you get this down, check out the Security Tutorials section for some extra tips on how to stay secure.
Tor Browser Bundle
You’ll want to head over to https://www.torproject.org/projects/torbrowser.html to download the Tor Browser Bundle for your OS. If you need help installing, there are installation instructions for each of the three main operating systems on the download page.
PGP is a method of encrypting/decrypting messages. You do not want to be sending your address to vendors unencrypted. If the site gets seized, LE will have easy proof of your crime. You don’t want to go to jail, jail sucks. Keep in mind that not all versions of PGP are created equally and avoid using online PGP methods like iGolder.
Can’t buy items without money now can we? We need to buy some Bitcoin. You can buy them with paypal or credit cards, find a local Bitcoin ATM machine, or even buy with straight up cash. However you buy them is up to you, but the most popular is LocalBitcoin for a reason; you can buy Bitcoin completely anonymously. Try to stay away from Coinbase as there have been reports of them banning accounts depositing on darknet markets. Also, do not be connected to the Tor network when buying Bitcoin, it’s completely legal and most sites will prevent you from doing so.
Now that you have Bitcoin, you need somewhere to store them. An excellent choice is Electrum. It’s cross-platform and even has an Android version. Go ahead and download it from this link https://electrum.org/download.html. It’s pretty simple and easy to use.
Part 2 – Some beginning tips
I’ll compile some beginning tips for new users. They’re from both personal experience and other stories around the web.
- Use your real name and address. Nothing is sketchier than getting mail delivered to your address with a fake name. Mail carriers are familiar with who lives where, and will report anything suspicious. You can get a PO box at your local postal office for fairly cheap if you’re living with other people and they have a tendancy to go through your mail.
- If you must use a fake name, at least have the proper documents to back that up. Fake ID and some utility bill scans should be good enough to open a PO Box under that name.
- Be patient. Agora isn’t Amazon, things do take time. Some vendors are known to mark as shipped right away, when they actually ship the next day. Shipping time can be delayed due to weather or holiday seasons. The only time you should bring this up is if you haven’t received your package after 14 days, or if Auto-Finalize is about to activate. More on that later.
- Encrypt any and every message you send. A few minutes of your time will save you a few years of rotting in jail.
- If you have a negative experience with a vendor, message them before leaving a review. 99% of the time they will go out of their way to sort you out, depending on their return policy. Being courteous and polite will get you far with this as well.
- Do not tell anyone you buy from the DNM. Not your friend, not your mother, not your deaf dog.
- Tumbling your coins using a service like Bitcoin Fog or Helix by Grams is up to personal preference. For buying personal amounts this isn’t really needed, and will not be covered in this guide.
- If a listing is too good to be true, it probably is.
- Never FE. Even trusted vendors have been known to exit scam.
- Try to order domestic (within your own country). This will obviously be more of an issue for people not in Can/US/UK, but as long as the vendor has good stealth you should be good.
Part 3 – What is Agora?
Agora is arguably the largest and most popular marketplace on the darkweb, with over 15000 listings just for drugs alone as of writing. Like most other marketplaces, they offer a wide variety of products such as weapons, drugs, counterfeits, and electronics.
- Wide variety of items to select from
- Easy to understand UI
- Referral program
- Ability to wipe account data with a single click
- Forum and market go down often due to security considerations
- When the market is up, it can be fairly slow
- Not many search filter options
- Registration is closed at times
Part 4 – Creating an account
You’ve installed the proper tools, and hopefully read over the basic tips. Now what? We’ll need to create an account. Agora is an invitation-only market, so you’ll need to an Agora referral link. (you can use this referral link: http://agorahooawayyfoe.onion/register/Gc2h4eoFAE)
If you see the above when trying to register, just note that Agora sometimes closes registrations to control growth. They aren’t closed permanently, just for 1 – 3 days every now and then. If they’re closed when you go to sign up, keep trying throughout the day. This can be frustrating, but stay patient.
After clicking the referral link, you should be at the following page:
Time to start filling out the required info. For ‘Username’, pick something you haven’t used anywhere else before, but will also be easy for you to remember. Same goes for the password and pincode, which will protect your account and market wallet from attacks. XKCD has a great comic on creating secure, easy to remember passwords. A custom welcome message is opional, but a good idea just to make sure you aren’t being phished. In the big box to the right you can put a little info about yourself. Make sure to put your ASCII-armored public PGP key here, and not list anything that could link you to your real name.
When you’ve filled out all the information complete the captcha and click ‘Register’. Don’t forget your password or pincode! You can now sign in and should be at the market page.
Now that you’ve created your account, we’ll want to set it up. Go ahead and click ‘Profile’ from the options at the top.
From here all we really have to do is setup two-factor authentication. This will force you to decrypt a message on login using your private key, securing your account. If you haven’t pasted your ASCII-armored public key in your profile yet, scroll down and do that then click ‘Save’. To activate 2-FA, just click where it says ‘Activate’. It will then ask you to decrypt a message to verify that you own the keypair, so do that.
Part 6 – Choosing what to buy
Now that we have our account set up, we can begin shopping.
This is where Agora falls short. There are no options to filter search results directly after using the search option, and you have to be in a final nested option in the side bar to be able to use what few filter options they have. The options are pretty self-explanatory: choose to see non-FE options first, sort by price/deals/vendors, and show domestic listings first.
FE vs No-FE
FE (or finalize early) is releasing funds to vendors before you receive your product. This is generally discouraged in the community due to the risk associated with it. If you’ve been scammed on a FE listing there is little chance you’ll get your funds back. No-FE listings are indicated by the green “thumbs up” icon beside the vendors name on that listing.
Domestic vs International
Choosing this depends on the amount of risk you want to take, and how fast you want your package to arrive. Domestic is generally safer since your package won’t have to go through customs. Ordering from “hot” countries like Pakistan, Netherlands, and Columbia obviously carry even greater risk due to their reputation of exporting illegal products.
Judging the vendor
You can view a vendors profile by clicking on their name in their product listing. From here you can grab their public key for sending encrypted messages, view their rating (x/5), how many deals they have done, and when they were last active. If you scroll further down the page, you can see all reviews left for said vendor. You don’t want to make an order with an inactive vendor, or one with shitty reviews.
Part 7 – Making your order
You’ve found a reputable vendor and want to make an order, great! Let’s get started.
Adding funds to your wallet
At the top of the site you can see how much is in your wallet, and the current BTC to USD conversion rate. Before you can buy anything you need to add the funds to your market wallet. Click on ‘Wallet’ at the top of the site.
You’ll want to generate a new address every time you want to make a deposit, but since this is your first deposit there is no need to. You’ll also want to send a bit more than you’ll need for the transaction due to fluctuating Bitcoin prices. After sending the funds to your market wallet it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to a couple of hours to show up. Be patient. If it takes an unusual amount of time (24+ hours), you can always send a message to Agora staff by visiting the “Info/Help” link at the top of the page, then clicking “Support” in the side bar. When the funds show up it should be reflected in your wallet balance.
Now that we have funds, time to order. Head on over to the product page, scroll down a bit and click ‘Buy’.
Fill out the amount you want. This is also a good time to check the vendors profile page to see if they want your address formatted in a certain way. Once you’ve done that, encrypt your shipping information and paste it into the box. Make sure you’ve filled out everything correctly, and click ‘Preview…’. This will take you to a similar page and displays the total order cost. Enter your wallet PIN and confirm the order.
Checking order status
This is done from the ‘Orders’ link at the top of the page. From here you can see what vendor you ordered from, the product you ordered, the server time you ordered at, how much is in escrow, and the status. To see more detailed information, view when it will auto-finalize, or extend aut-finalize, just click on ‘Details’. Make sure to keep an eye on when it will auto-finalize, you don’t want the funds to go into the vendors account before receiving your product. You can always extend this time by sending the vendor a message.
The order status explains what step the order is at. “Open, pending” means that your order has gone through to the vendor, but they have yet to log in to see that they have received it. “Processing” means that the vendor has received the order and is now working on getting it shipped. “Shipped” is pretty self-explanatory, just means the vendor has shipped your order. “Finalized” means that the payment has been sent into the vendors wallet, after which a dispute cannot be opened.
If at any time you need to contact support, only do so through the market! You can do this by clicking ‘Info/Help’ at the top of the page, then ‘Support’ in the sidebar. A moderator will never contact you asking for details about your account. You can choose to send the message immediately, or randomly at any time throughout the next 24 hours by selecting the option in the drop down menu. “agora” is the only real support account for Agora, and it will never contact you without you contacting it first through this form.
If you get something in the mail you don’t recognize, don’t throw it away! Some vendors have amazing stealth, and people have been known to throw out spam mail thinking their product wasn’t in there when it was. Once you confirm that you got what you ordered, head back to the ‘Orders’ page and view the details. Under ‘Order Finalization’ click ‘Finalize’ to release the funds into the vendors account. Finalizing as soon as you receive your product is a good thing to do. If you don’t finalize, you’ll end up making the vendor wait for auto-finalize and could end up on a vendor blacklist. You don’t want that.
If you didn’t receive what you ordered, send the vendor a message. They’re usually good about it as long as you remain polite and calm. If they wont fix the issue, open up a dispute. Opening a dispute will create a “chat” between you, the vendor, and a moderator as a mediator. Remain calm and polite during this. Being pissed off and swearing in all caps is a great way to lose the dispute. If you’re a new buyer with no purchases your chances of winning a dispute are slim, and the same goes if you have a high amount of disputes on your account.
If you enjoyed the product, make sure to leave a review to let other potential buyers know. Part of what makes the darknet markets great is the community, for the most part, look out for each other.
Part 8 – Conclusion
Following this tutorial should be enough to get you started on Agora. There is a bit more that can be learned, but it’s better that you do this on your own. Have fun and stay safe!