The State of Darknet Markets Today:
Despite 2019 proving a bumper year for law enforcement on the darknet, there are actually more darknet markets (DNMs) today than there were in January. Dream has closed and Wall Street exit scammed/been busted, but as a glance at DNM listing site dark.failshows, it’s still business as usual. And right now, business is good, with buyers offered more stores than ever stocked with a cornucopia of wares, and a plethora of cryptocurrencies they can use, from bitcoin cash to monero.
Before we round up the current crop of darknet markets, and examine the sort of goods they’re shipping, let’s take a moment to consider the intersection of cryptocurrency and crime. To date, there have been some incongruous attempts at deploying cryptographic technology for the purposes of crime prevention.
On the one hand, we have projects like Intelli Network, a P2P application for anonymously sharing crime tips. And then we have theonion site operated by The Northern California Illicit Digital Economy (NCIDE) Task Force. It contains a list of arrested DNM vendors, plus other DNM dealers located in northern California who have been identified. In centuries past, executed criminals would have their remains hung from the city gates as a warning to other miscreants. NCIDE’s onion site the modern day counterpart; a digital warning to be safe when using the darknet, and avoid getting rekt like these unfortunate souls.
The trouble with visiting darknet markets for review purposes, is that you chance across fractions of a bitcoin you still have stored in them – fractions that are worth more than the last time you logged in, tempting a man to order some goodies. I’m not saying that happened upon reacquainting myself with the darknet’s most popular marketplace of the moment; I’m just heavily implying that it did. Empire accepts BTC and XMR and has an enviable list of products, mostly drugs.
Tochka is now one of the oldest DNMs, given that the previous holders of this flame have bitten the dust. The site accepts BTC, BCH, and ETH and is stocked with a wealth of tantalizing wares, whatever your poison. A wide range of countries is serviced, and the site promotes dead drops, for customers who’d rather collect their goods from a discrete public location.
Another well established DNM, Berlusconi can hook you up with pretty much anything you care for aside from weapons and explosives – they’re being delisted on July 17. BTC, LTC, and XMR are supported on the site, which lists over 33,000 products for Drugs & Chemicals alone, but it also lists software, tutorials, jewels, and gold.
Cryptonia is a wallet-less multisig DNM, which removes the risk of having to deposit funds into your account and hope that the site isn’t shut down before you’ve had a chance to spend them. BTC and XMR are the cryptocurrencies accepted here. With only around 1,300 listings for weed and hashish, and less for other categories of drugs, Cryptonia lacks the traction of the darknet market leaders.
Another new DNM which supposedly has no connection to Dream, Dream Alt is a BTC-only marketplace that’s stocked with the usual substances. It’s around the same size as Cryptonia at the moment, and it will naturally take time and trust for Dream Alt to grow. Given the rumors that law enforcement have discovered Tor vulns that make any DNM susceptible to takeover, vendors and customers seem to be hedging their bets by signing up for multiple marketplaces. Dream Alt is another candidate for inclusion in any such strategy.
Nightmare earns the award for multicoin friendliness; no less than six cryptos can be spent here. In addition to BTC and BCH, shoppers can use DASH, LTC, XMR, and ZEC. Nightmare is stocked to the gunnels with products too, including 46,000 entries for drugs alone. It’s also got a busy erotica section. The site’s vendor rating system is particularly user friendly, making it easy to discern who’s reputable and who’s not.
The darknet’s newest marketplace has an anarchist slant and a desire to “keep buyers and vendors safe from the bad sides that can be encountered on the deepweb.” The BTC-only site is yet another wallet-less DNM, recognizing that this is one of the most effective ways of building trust from day one. The range of categories and subcategories to be found on Genesis is impressive, but as is to be expected, the number of products listed is low at this time.
In addition to the sites profiled above,dark.fail and onion forum Dread list a host of others. Despite sporadic DDoSings and the constant threat of LE enforcement, the concept of darknet markets has proven to be extremely resilient. Sites come and go, but the dream of P2P trading through the pseudonymity granted by cryptocurrency remains very much alive.
Please note, that is not a bit of financial advice, nor the WhaleToBe team’s view