There’s a new trading website for buyers and sellers of drugs, guns, child pornography, and other illicit materials: dark marketplaces. Some people say they’re better than Amazon, though that might depend on your attitude. They offer a greater selection of products at more competitive prices. That makes them tempting to try out. But there are also plenty of reasons to consider not using one of these sites.
In this article, we’ll discuss what makes these markets stand out from the pack and whether or not you should use them yourself.
What is a Dark Web Marketplace?
A dark web marketplace is a website where you can buy or sell something without being tracked. The dark web is the part of the internet that runs unindexed and inaccessible to search engines like Google. E-commerce websites and services that operate on the “dark web” don’t show up in Google’s search results. They’re not indexed, so if you try to search for them you won’t find them. And because the sites are often hosted in countries where governments consider them illegal, they can be blocked by a firewall or otherwise be inaccessible by major search engines. The dark web is often referred to as the “deep web.”
While different dark web marketplaces operate differently, the definition for each site is generally the same: To keep your transactions private and safe, the marketplace uses a secure encryption protocol to protect your information and keep you anonymous. They also use a different registration process, often requiring you to sign up or provide contact information with a fake name or other identifying details. It’s like using a fake name to buy things online, but in this case, the seller does not have your real name and contact information.
We’ll focus on four of the major dark web marketplaces:
- Agora (also known as “AlphaBay”) by Hansa Market
- Dream Market by Dream
- Wall Street Market by WallStreet
- and Empire Market (sometimes referred to as “EM” but more commonly referred to as “Empire”) by AlphaBay.
The sites differ in their design and customer experience, so we’ll break down some of the basic differences when we discuss each site below.
AlphaBay is a darknet marketplace that was launched in 2014 and is currently one of the most popular and popular darknet marketplaces. The website had over 200,000 registered users who use the platform to buy and sell a range of illegal goods including drugs, guns, and email hacking services. The website offered 24/7 customer support via email and live chat. Users had suggested that the site should be shut down by law enforcement officials because it was providing a place for criminals to trade their illegal products such as drugs, firearms, or hacking services online.
AlphaBay supports payment methods like Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR). AlphaBay is using two different domains named AlphaBay and AlphaBay2.
AlphaBay operates the marketplaces on the Tor network, i2p, and Freenet.
The drug listings on the website are extensive and include heroin, cocaine, marijuana, and synthetic drugs like LSD.
AlphaBay Market offers discounts on shipping to customers who purchase larger quantities of drugs than normal. The online marketplace thrives on many newbie users who are unaware of marketplaces like AlphaBay and therefore, operate without any fear of getting scammed or ripped off. This is the main reason why darknet markets like AlphaBay have generated huge revenue from their virtual drug empires.
AlphaBay Market was available on the dark web via a .onion (the Tor network). This means that users can access the site using the Tor browser which hides their identity and protects their online privacy. The anonymity offered by Tor browsers allows users to feel secure about buying and selling illicit goods without fear of getting busted by law enforcement agencies.
AlphaBay is currently down and unavailable to the general public.
The official website was this link: https://alphabaywyjrktqn.onion/
The Dream Market is another darknet marketplace that was launched in 2013. The market is currently hosted on the Tor network. Dream Market emphasizes anonymity and discretion of transactions using a secure encryption protocol that protects your information and keeps you anonymous.
In terms of payment methods, Dream Market allows for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Monero (XMR).
Dream Market has over 150,000 listings for different products from narcotics to guns. The site also allows users to make bookings for drugs. Unlike AlphaBay, neither the Dream Market nor the .onion links are being hosted at the time of writing this article.
Dream Market offers 24/7 customer support via e-mail and live chat; among the other top darknet marketplaces.
The official website is this link: https://dreamdnebplpunchfrg.onion/
Wall Street Market
The Wall Street Market is a darknet marketplace that offers buyers and sellers the opportunity to buy and sell a range of goods and services. The website was created by people who have a background in financial services, hence the name “Wall Street”. One of the main features of this website is its ability to buyer protection program that helps buyers get their money back if they are ripped off or scammed by a seller. This feature is not available on other darknet marketplaces like AlphaBay and Hansa Market.
The Wall Street Market (or WSM for short) was launched in early 2017 with future plans to offer drugs for sale. Users can send bitcoins from their online portfolios to make purchases on the WSM platform. The website provides users with an escrow feature that protects bitcoin buyers and sellers. This feature alone keeps the marketplace competitive with other established marketplaces like AlphaBay and Hansa Market.
The WSM team says they have a goal to ensure that both buyers and sellers can participate in a safe ecosystem where they can trade with each other without the fear of being scammed. As of December 2017, the Wall Street Market has more than 50,000 registered members who use the platform to buy and sell drugs as well as other items.
WSM accepts Zcash for payment, as well as BTC and ETH cryptocurrencies.
The official website is this link: http://wsmxytcin4dcychx.onion/
Empire Market is a new online darknet marketplace that allows users to buy and sell a variety of goods and services. The website was launched in 2017 by an individual who is based in Australia.
Early reports suggest that Empire Market has more than 50,000 active members on its website with new sellers joining its platform every week. The Empire Market website is accessible via Tor browsers and features an escrow feature that protects buyers from drug dealers. The escrow feature helps to ensure that all payment transactions on the platform are carried out smoothly while providing users with a safe environment to make payments for goods and services.
Empire Market also allows users to purchase bitcoins through their online wallets so they can fund their accounts on the site. The platform has a wide range of goods and services available for purchase; including drugs such as MDMA, LSD, and high-quality cannabis.
According to the developers behind Empire Market, they see themselves as a free marketplace where users can purchase drugs. They say all the sellers on their website are verified dealers who want to sell their products in a safe environment
The official website is this link: http://empiremktwvzcu25u8.onion/
Can You Shop and Sell Legally on the Dark Web?
Although the dark web is often associated with nefarious activities, such as buying and selling illegal products, it can be a legitimate tool for e-commerce. In fact, some companies are using the dark web to sell their products and services. For instance:
- Gun sellers in the United States use Tor to access a site called AlphaBay to market their weapons with complete anonymity. They can do this because gun laws in the country mean that selling firearms legally is difficult and few people want to get involved with a dark web marketplace.
- Clothing and fashion retailers sell their products on the dark web because some buyers prefer to shop anonymously. A company called Beacon sells its products on markets such as Black Bank and Silk Road 3.0 for this reason.
- Clinics in the United Kingdom offer services such as abortions to women who don’t want their purchase to be tracked by anti-abortion activists. An article published in the Guardian newspaper reported that women from Northern Ireland were making purchases online through a site named Women on Web, which is hosted on a network called Tor (1, 2).
- Some companies sell food, beverages and even alcohol via dark-web marketplaces because they can do so anonymously — and avoid paying taxes on the transaction. An article published in the Telegraph reported that a Greek citizen was able to place an order for goods on a marketplace called Sheep Marketplace and receive them from the United Kingdom in two days. The goods were delivered to him by courier. This is because of the relative anonymity provided by the dark web and because there are no regulations in place to stop this from happening.
- Dark-web shoppers often want to know that their information isn’t being intercepted, so they use sites such as Agora Market and Silk Road 3.0 for that reason. Some companies even try to entice customers with free shipping, so these marketplaces can be valuable tools for e-commerce sellers (1, 2).
- And some sellers use the dark web for what it’s intended for: to sell illegal drugs, weapons or other products and services.
Tips for Shopping on the Dark Web
Many people are wondering if it’s safe to shop on the dark web. Some people are even asking if you can use Bitcoin to buy or sell illegal weapons in an online market such as the Silk Road 3 and whether they can get away with it. While the answer is yes, you can use Bitcoin to buy illegal products, you should think twice before doing so. This is because:
- The product or service you receive may be faulty or unacceptable. While some sellers provide excellent customer support, others make promises that they don’t keep. For example, a seller may promise to send a valuable product or service that he never delivers. The same thing can happen on dark-web markets if you buy something that doesn’t live up to your expectations.
- It may not be illegal in your country, but it is likely to be illegal in someone else’s and the seller could get into trouble. What if you buy a product or service from a seller who’s operating outside of your own country? In that case, it’s easy for the authorities to track down where those products or services are being bought from. If you’re in the United States and buy a product from Iran or China, for example, it’s not difficult for U.S. customs officials to track that purchase back to you.
- Your purchase could be the way that authorities track down other dark-web users. While it’s true that you can use Bitcoin to buy illegal products on the dark web, this isn’t reason enough for doing so. The fact is that any time you make a purchase on an online marketplace, your name and address are registered in that marketplace’s database. This means that if anyone else makes a purchase from the same marketplace, it won’t be hard for law enforcement agencies to work out who made the first purchase or what it was. If you’re buying illegal drugs or other goods, you might as well get them from a dealer in your own area, because at least then you’ll know whom to avoid in future!
- It could harm the dark web as a whole. If too many people start buying illegal goods and services on the dark web, then this will cause an efficiency loss for that marketplace. The Tor Project’s FAQ explains this point well: “These markets are not sustainable without violence, meaning that they do depend on the tacit understanding that there will be no law enforcement against them.”
Better Ways to Buy Illegal Items
If you’re thinking of using Bitcoin to buy illegal items on the dark web, then think again. There are better ways of doing this, safer ways, and they don’t involve using Bitcoin at all, either. Here are three of them:
- Wait for the right time to buy illegal goods. It’s obvious, but you need to make sure that it’s actually legal for you to buy the goods or services that you have in mind. For example, if you’re thinking of buying drugs for recreational purposes, then it’s best to wait until it’s a legal substance in your area. This way you won’t get caught and end up serving time behind bars or having your money confiscated.
- Buy them from a close friend or relative. If you know someone who sells illegal goods such as drugs, then it makes sense to wait until they offer you a deal on them — and agree with them on a price before making any kind of payment. In this case, it’s still safer to make the transaction cash-in-hand than it is to use Bitcoin because the risk of getting caught is lower.
- Buy them from someone you know who lives in another country. If you know someone whose identity you don’t need to protect, then it’ll make sense for you to buy drugs or weapons from them over the dark web — as long as they’re not a citizen of your own country! That way, you can buy them without leaving any traceable evidence behind if a future investigation takes place into your illicit purchases.
While it’s true that you can use Bitcoin to buy illegal items on the dark web, this isn’t a good idea. If you do so, then you’ll be using Bitcoin in an illegal way and leaving behind a traceable purchase. The safest thing to do is to avoid using Bitcoin for this purpose because you never know what might happen if you get caught!
Do you think it’s safe to buy anything on the dark web? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The valuable information you have just read is taken from the book ” The Creator’s Guide to the Dark Web “