Fear, Uncertainty, and Alphabay
Alphabay—a marketplace often amidst minor drama—kicked the hornet’s nest of angry, worried, or otherwise irritated Reddit users. The marketplace unexpectedly dropped offline on July 4. Not even six hours later, the /r/darknetmarkets subreddit had fallen into a state of disarray. Alphabay is still on the DeepDotWeb “Top Markets” list, but it may not be there for long (will be removed per the usual rules after being down for two weeks). A note was added to the listing:
Trappy_AB, an Alphabay moderator, commented on the downtime on July 5. “I have been in touch with our devs and admins and they are working to restore AlphaBay as soon as possible,” he wrote. The reassurance provided by the message quickly wore off, as seen in a short collection of the subreddit’s current topics:
- My theory on Alphabay’s downtime. [The RCMP Raids]
- Official Alphabay Admin Notice by PenisSmith
- The REAL Reason Alphabay is Down – DeSnake’s OPSec Mistake – Signed by Kinger
Only time will tell. And Alphabay’s time is in short supply. The market is effectively gone as of this news roundup. Reddit
DEA Busted Former Alphabay Vendor “EtiKing”
EtiKing (aka Jeremysdemo aka badmamajama2 aka Jeremy P. Achey) got busted after an investigation into a 24-year-old’s death. She died of an overdose on a mixture of tetrahydrofuranfentanyl and etizolam. Her fiance overdosed on the same combination but EMS revived him. He worked with the DEA to bust EtiKing, an operation that proved simpler than most. In addition to being a darknet drug marketplace vendor, Jeremy Achey moderated /r/researchchemicals under his real name. He operated USDTO, a drug purity testing service that was created at the location on his darknet shipping labels.
He once moderated and scammed chemsrus and chemsarus. He moderated a GCMS subreddit where he posted GCMS results of various fentanyl analogs. Additionally, he used his real name and email on a mail forwarding service that allowed Bitcoin payments. The same email matched his Coinbase account that he had used as EtiKing. And finally, an informant—the former EtiKing—provided the feds with information on Achey, including that he knew that his drugs had killed several customers:
“Desmethyltramadol is selling pretty good fight now, but not on here, have not been listing fent since like 5 people died in my state and the feds have upped their investigation, no doubt they are going to come to the dark web looking for sellers, like to keep a lower profile than that,” he wrote.
His prison sentence in the state of Florida will not be a short one. DeepDotWeb
Visiting The Darkweb is a Sign of Terrorism, Warns U.K Police
Despite the lack of evidence connecting the darknet to true acts of terrorism, the U.K. has relentlessly treated hidden services like the root of all terror. The terror attacks and terror threats in the U.K. are very real. And numerous hidden services exist solely to distribute IS propaganda. But any evidence of the darknet converting someone with no connection to Syria or IS into a radical IS soldier is either fictional or strategically hidden from the public.
That is not to say that the darknet is not aiding in terrorist communication in the same way that it facilitates anonymous messages between darknet market buyers and sellers. Many hidden services offer weapons (and many buyers get fooled into buying one). But the overwhelming majority of weaponry goes to private, random individuals that refrain from mass murders. An exception would be the Munich gunman.
Here is what the pamphlets from police in London displayed regarding the darknet:
“Examples of suspicious activity could include someone who:
- appears to be carrying out surveillance; taking photos of security arrangements for example;
- has firearms or other weapons or has shown an interest in getting them;
- is visiting the dark web, or ordering unusual items online;
- has bought or hired a vehicle in suspicious circumstances;
German authorities stop weapon buyers and sellers weekly. Russian authorities arrest few. The UK has effectively made zero arrests. They manage to be the most vocal about the issue, though. DeepDotWeb
Behind-the-Scenes: a Darknet Market on the Ethereum Blockchain
We interviewed a spokesperson behind an upcoming marketplace backend that runs on the Ethereum blockchain. Everything gets stored in the backend so that it becomes permanent in the event of an exit scam or similar marketplace deaths; this includes the reviews, listings, and sales, and other marketplace elements.
Virtually anyone can throw together a frontend store or “marketplace” and hook into the new marketplace framework. The entire darknet market scene would change if the backend—known as Tralfamadore—was adopted by the community.
No single market would be superior to another with regard to the number of listings. Every frontend could pull from the same backend. The developers released a browser-based decentralized escrow in late June:
“We’re happy to announce the alpha launch of Ethrow: the first browser-based decentralized escrow. The Tralfamadore team lost our investor so about a week and a half ago we decided to take one part of our decentralized market–the escrow–and create a third-party escrow site for direct deals. […] Ethrow runs on the Ethereum network using smart contracts so no human is ever in control of your money. We provide mediators for your transactions who can only ever complete the escrow, refund the escrow, or complete half and refund half. The money in escrow can never go to anyone but the seller and/or buyer.”DeepDotWeb
Wall Street Market Adds Support for Monero
With both known marketplaces that accepted Monero gone, Wall Street Market’s Monero implementation came at the perfect time for Monero holders. WSM is one of the only remaining markets to support Monero. Wall Street Market, TradeRoute, and Zion all support Monero, but traffic to the markets had been limited during the Alphabay reign. Now that DNM buyers are looking for a new place to shop, this may change.
“WallStreet Market is proud to announce that we´re finally integrated active monero support without a deposit system. Just order how do you already know from bitcoin on our market and transfer the specified funds to the shown wallet.
When a vendor supports Monero and BitCoin, simply choose your favorite coin and checkout. More follow soon.” DeepDotWeb