Following the crash of Empire Market last week, patrons of DNM are struggling to look for new markets and are even more having difficulty trusting them. On related forums, clients have been talking about which markets on the Dark Web are safe and trustworthy, the transition process to a new DNM, and how much were taken from them after the alleged exit scam committed by Empire.
The downfall of Alphabay in 2017 caused a ruckus in the market of the Darknet. People turned to Dream, which was another disappointment after an exit scam was confirmed to have been done by the platform’s admins. Many more markets emerged subsequently, peaking in mid-2019 with the rise of Tochka, Apollon, Cannazon, Cryptonia, Grey Market, and Empire. As Empire gained millions of users, Apollon hit a rough patch in February of this year, also with the same exit scam crime. Since then, Empire Market became the biggest and most trusted DNM.
Until Saturday, August 22, when it was first discovered that the Empire was down. It was first thought to have been a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service), but theories about an exit scam were made when days passed and there was still no word from the administrators. An estimated 30 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin and Monero was allegedly taken.
Discussions in underground forums and Reddit have not ceased since the controversy. Another marketplace by the name of Icarus is largely talked about, although people are still reluctant to trust a new DNM.
Dark.fail site admin tweeted a thread of the remaining Darknet markets today. 11 DNMs were mentioned, and each of the markets had a distinct characteristic in terms of how they run.
And now: a whirlwind tour of today's notable darknet markets. [thread]— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 28, 2020
The first on the list was Darkmarket - mainly with women administrators. This site transacts with Bitcoin and Monero, running via Eckmar script. With only 1,400 sellers, the marketplace is trusted by around 220,000 users.
Cannazon is exclusive only for marijuana transactions. The most secure market seen so far is the White House market, with only Monero as the digital currency for its transactions. It isn’t that user-friendly of an interface compared to Empire but it still has 68,000 customers and 1,700 vendors on the market.
Monopoly Market has strict policies, only allowing the most trustworthy vendors. As of today, it only has 132 vendors accepting both Bitcoin and Monero. The market analyst included a disclaimer in the Twitter thread that it was not intended to be an endorsement of any, but rather as a reference for researchers.
Aside from Empire being the biggest underground marketplace, Hydra has been running the longest in Russia. Reports have said that Hydra is developing its English version and is expected to launch outside of Russia soon. Hydra vendors do not smuggle products through the post. Instead, there are secret hideouts all across the cities where buyers can pick up their parcels.
Dark.fail is also cautious about Icarus Market and warned patrons from entirely putting their trust in it. The analyst is also predicting that Icarus will commit a scam in the future and users should think twice before taking the risk in conducting transactions in Icarus.
I believe that Icaraus Market will scam. Naive darknet users are rushing into new, unproven sites that are shilling forums like mad.— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 28, 2020
I consider DarkMarket, Monopoly, White House, CanadaHQ, ToRReZ, and DeepSea the most notable to research.