On July 19, another marketplace—one barely on the market list—exited the scene. The market that left, Silk Road 3.1, absconded in a classic exit scam. Many community members were surprised that Silk Road 3.1 had even existed, given that the Silk Road branding died years ago. SR 3.1 claimed someone had compromised the market and took off with the funds. Coincidentally, this exit scam occurred within hours of a Reddit post warning users of a major red flag involving SR 3.1’s server configuration.
The Apache server leaked Lunacy and Silk Road 3.1 I.P. addresses that revealed two dedicated SD servers in France, according to a Reddit user under the name “Skillzy2017.” In a Reddit post, Skillzy2017 wrote that he contacted the market admin about correcting the issue, only to receive a site wide ban. The user then published the Reddit post as a warning to other users. Despite being a nearly non-existent marketplace with no affiliation to the real Silk Road or Silk Road 2.0, the admin claimed that SR 3.1 gained three new users every minute.
“I’m pretty sure these 2 IPs belong to their servers as it’s their server returning these IPs also when running them up on whoerdotnet it shows these aren’t TOR IPs doing a whois on the IPs shows it’s a dedicated SD box located in france,” Skillzy2017 said.
An excerpt from DeepDotWeb’s Silk Road 3.1 listing:
“Since the takedown of Silk Road 2 every market using the Silk Road name such as Silk Road 3 & Silk Road Reloaded were banned from being listed on DeepDotWeb, under the assumption that they are all scams waiting to happen & that the only reason a dark net market operator would have for naming his or her site after Silk Road is to create a false sense of credibility to attract inexperienced users and steal their money.”
So, for many of the /r/darknetmarkets commenters, the surprise was not that that SR 3.1 exit scammed. Instead, the surprise was that people still used the site until the exit. In the post on Reddit, prior to the scam but after the IP disclosure, Skillzy2017 wrote that he believed the admins were prepared to scam. In an edit, two hours after posting, he added, “[Silk Road 3.1 and Lunacy] went down after this post.”
The Silk Road 3.1 homepage no longer boasts of being the darknet’s most resilient marketplace. A screenshot from a Walt Disney movie, “Alice in Wonderland,” sits in place of the former Silk Road logo. And with it, an ordinary tale of how an external actor compromised the market and either bankrupted them or launched them in a trajectory towards bankruptcy. In a twist not frequently seen after an exit scam, the market owner offered to give the market to Dream or Hansa (before it became known they were seized by law enforcment)as long as they promised to keep SR 3.1 operational. The market is also for sale to any “decent market / darknet personality.”
Below the PGP signed message that detailed the current situation, the admin placed a “serious request” form for potential buyers. The new front-page message (formatted to fit the page):
AW here (SR3.1 and Lunacy owner). Our market has been compromised (stolen funds) and we will bankrupt. We miss a lot of money. And that is not something I can provide personally.
Your personal information were not compromised. Only an admin account – which had been used to empty server’s wallet. Everything is stored encrypted on our servers and all your data is safe.
Dream Market & Hansa’s Market: We do not want to fuck up all our users. But at this point, we can not financially keep this market running. If any of you wants to own SR3 & Lunacy, I will give it for free. Everything, servers, onion domains, … as long as you promise to -or at least try to- keep it running.
Any other decent market / darknet personality : We are selling the market. If you can pay for the debt, we will refund all current orders and pay vendors. Then you will own the market.
Turnover of the past days (in usd):
- 2017-07-18 – 17278.41
- 2017-07-17 – 13154.89
- 2017-07-16 – 11638.08
- 2017-07-15 – 10618.92
- 2017-07-14 – 13745.46
- 2017-07-13 – 13956.82
- 2017-07-12 – 19023.15
- 2017-07-11 – 17564.18
- 2017-07-10 – 18812.53
Active advertising on Torch, HW and a few other major DN places. An average of 3 new users each minute. An average of 15k usd transit per day. Because the failure is my mistake, I will retire. I can not handle all this anymore. But if there is something that can be done to save our users, then be it.
Any serious request to be sent using the form below.
The Reddit user, Skillzy2017, closed the IP address post with a fairly common threat, following an exit scam. “To SR mods, admins, if any see this: I won’t leak the IPs if you put up the market and let people get their funds, If not I will.”