Darknet macroplace suspected of $ 30 million exit scam
Empire Market never resumed operations
The community suspects administrators of an exit scam
This is not the first time that a site has unexpectedly gone offline.
International consortium of news organizations developing transparency standards.
The darknet marketplace Empire Market never returned online, rumors spread in the community that the site administrators fled with users’ money
What’s up Empire Market
One of the largest darknet marketplaces went offline five days ago. It was initially assumed that the site, which stored thousands of BTC on its escrow accounts, was subjected to a DDoS attack..
Empire Market, the largest marketplace on the dark side of the internet, unexpectedly went offline on August 22nd. According to preliminary data, a DDoS attack was carried out on the platform, but the exact reason for the interruptions in work is still not known. Moreover, rumors spread in the community that the marketplace team simply pocketed the users’ money and disappeared..
Twitter account @DarkDotFail, which allegedly belongs to an anonymous journalist investigating the events in the Tor browser, suggested that platform administrators disappeared, taking funds accumulated in escrow accounts.
“The platform administrators are silent, no information has been received from law enforcement agencies either. All this strongly resembles an exit scam, ”reads the tweet. “The Darknet was experiencing a golden age of boundless trust. Expect a wave of exit scams this year “.
@DarkDotFail claims to have contacted an Empire Market employee who wished to remain anonymous. According to him, the site administrators embezzled about 2,638 BTC, or $ 30 million. These coins were in the escrow account.
Empire launched in January 2018 shortly after AlphaBay’s demise and grew to 1.3 million users. A staff member estimates under condition of anonymity that the admins profited 2,638 BTC, $ 30 million USD.
– dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 25, 2020
Empire Market was launched in January 2018 after the AlphaBay market closed and quickly gained 1.3 million users. However, for the rapid growth in popularity, it brought its own problems in the form of frequent DDoS attacks and “intrusive doxx attempts from prohibited suppliers”.
Not the first scam on the darknet
This marketplace has gone offline more than once, and the admins also periodically disappeared from the radar, but then they were always unexpectedly announced. But this time “vacation” was delayed.
Perhaps the admins made an exit scam, or just decided to take a break. Be that as it may, Empire, most likely, will not return to service..
Marketplaces on the darknet often end up scandalous and are sometimes shut down by governments. This was the case with the infamous Silk Road platform and Wall Street Market. Some just take users’ money and disappear, like Evolution. According to @DarkDotFail, in 2019, after the closure of the Wall Street Market, eight such exit scams occurred on the darknet..
An Israeli cyber threat monitoring company analyzed discussions on darknet forums and concluded that Empire Market users are likely to move to other markets like Icarus, White House Market, Versus and Wickr..
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