Darkweb markets have every reason to exit scam, lie about their intentions, pretend to do favors for the community, and claim to have your best interests in mind at all times. You should assume that everyone, even those who appear to look out for others, is lying to you. Personally I would first assume they were a fed (which includes the lack of honesty) but I think at least one or two of you are not feds.
When a new marketplace emerges, the market’s staff tell anyone who will listen about the many ways the market will not steal from its users. Sometimes the marketplace P.R. staff will explain how the market cannot actually steal from its customers. This is true for essentially every person or entity on the darkweb. Yes, yes. NAXALT. I actually agree and cover it below.
Markets strive to develop a reputation for really caring about the community of drug users and the future of buying drugs, pornography, and stolen credit card numbers on darkweb markets. They self-aggrandize through comparisons to cultural icons such as Ross Ulbricht (Silk Road) and Alexandre Cazes (Alphabay). Other pro-social highlights often include a commitment to harm reduction and the same list of prohibited items as every other marketplace. Market administrators who understand networking, operational security, information security, and user safety separate themselves from those who posture within a few posts or messages. But standard-setting marketplaces and marketplaces run by a group of confused midwits end the same way in the overwhelming majority of cases.
I just pulled some examples. In fairness, some are low hanging fruit.
“We are willing to stay forever, and serve every customer & vendor [just] as before. This is the market we need right now, with the right security and support.” – WaterChain, a former Dream Market staff member, wrote about SamSara Market. SamSara along with WaterChain vanished less than one year later.
Nightmare Market on Dread:
“We will never exit scam as others did, we are here to stay.”
In fairness, Nightmare lost some of their money in a hack before entering chaos mode and exiting. I think they basically operated as a pyramid scheme after the hack, funding withdrawals from a different user’s fresh deposit.
Dark0de, at launch. They exited a few days ago. (definitely a first for the administrators of Dark0de…)
Dark0de Reborn will define exactly what a DarkNet Market needs to be. We have used the most enduring ideals for realising this. We understand consumer empathy and have built not only the front, but also the back and even the things you can’t see, with beautiful precision. We believe in craft above all and we will reiterate this firm believe with every step we take to build Dark0de into the greatest dark web e-commerce platform this market has ever seen.
Luna Market, at launch. They obviously exit scammed but I do not remember when.
“After recent exit scams and collaps of various marketplaces we wanted to create a market where it is impossible for either admins or vendors to run away with your funds.
Kingdom Market made it less than one month. They are difficult to understand but he is talking to the administrator of a different marketplace in this comment, bragging about how he would always be around:
I don’t understand, you usually knew you were crying like little girls when a market scam you but when a straight guy comes try to open a market or there will be no scam you wanted to make bad publicity know something I am here and i will stay whatever the price and the time.
Our market is very transparent in terms of security and we aim to prioritise the safety of our customers first and foremost.
Our wish is to make Icarus, as buyer and vendor friendly as possible. The development of our code will never stop, we will continually keep upgrading it and most importantly we will always listen to what the community wants.
Seemed like a bold claim even if they never intended to exit scam.
Originally I had intended to publish this as part of a longer article about recent events unfolding on Dread. While writing that article, it occurred to me that a gradual shift has occurred within the last three years. The markets mentioned above are a but a small sample of the markets that have exit scammed after telling users about their plan to stick around forever. But I noticed a somewhat of a trend of markets that have either broken the exit scam cycle or, at the very least, exited in an atypical manner.
CGMC is not the sole exception to markets retiring successfully anymore. ToRReZ retired honorably, providing users with a warning and enough time to withdraw whatever funds they had on the market. Deepmix retired in 2019. White House Market announced their retirement, gave users 16 days to pull their funds, and then vanished. Not everyone managed to withdraw their funds, according to Dread users. Obviously still a retirement. Cannazon bridges the gap between markets that successfully retired and markets that essentially lost the ability to remain online.
In Cannazon’s case, a DDoS attack had largely prevented users from accessing the site. They stopped making money. They announced the retirement on Dread and retired on November 28, 2021. Empire Market exit scammed. And for a market that size, I think announcing a retirement and giving users time to withdraw every last penny is not in their best interest. However, until the DDoS attacks, they were showing no signs of slowing down. It did seem as if the administrators had no interest in making more money; Se7en wrote that they had stopped implementing changes and listening to his input.
Empire was staying online by paying the attacker an estimated $15,000 every week. Apparently a second attacker started hitting them and they just gave up. Undeniably an exit scam; they could have made an effort, like Cannazon, to return for the sole purpose of returning funds. Monopoly market vanished after being attacked and taken offline. Cartel Market vanished the same time and same way.
There is a list of markets that simply chose not to pay the entity extorting their marketplace (often because they lacked the funds to do so). Although that list is not as long as the list of markets that clearly exited with malicious intent, it is growing. I would include Square Market and Cryptonia Market to the list. Technically Libertas, I think (not confident about Libertas though). Those last three have a questionable history.
The end user loses funds unless the market follows CGMC’s example; the distinctions between traditional exit scams, exiting after being taken offline for extended periods of time, and vanishing as the result of a law enforcement operation do not matter in this context.
Some of the “good reputation retirements” involved people responsible for previous exit scams. Very few people are who they seem to be.
The outrage and disbelief that these markets are likely lying to users seems artificial. People act as if untrustworthy market administrators are literally the worst thing they have ever experienced. Until they hear about a new thing that also happens to be the worst thing they have ever esperienced.
There is no reason to trust anybody on the internet. Best case scenario, an entity’s interests align temporarily with your interests. Worst case scenario, an entity’s interest aligns with alphabet agencies. In an underground economy filled with drug users, drug dealers, people openly phishing marketplaces, fraudsters, etc., it is unusual to find someone who places the interests of the community above their own security, freedom, and financial interests.
P.S. I think it is worth examining the circumstances surrounding the attacks that ended marketplaces. Random people have been attacking markets for financial gain for years but so have the feds. It would be in there best interest to control what people think and do. No shit, I suppose.