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Drama persists in online drug marketplaces

Taking a quick look at any of the comings and goings of online drug marketplaces over the past year will give you several different impressions. One is obviously that it's astounding how simple it is to purchase supposedly “controlled,” substances online with a little technical know how, but the second is invariably surprise at how much drama unfolds with them on a daily basis. The original Silk Road was underground for long enough that it enjoyed several years of prosperity, but as its size began to snowball, it struggled to keep a lid on things and eventually its owner was discovered. That trend of hacks, DDOS attacks and scams is continuing with its bastard offspring.

We heard a lot about Black Market Reloaded and Sheep Marketplace, the two big players that took over much of the original SR's traffic. Unfortunately for them though, it seemed they grew too quickly without adequate safe guards and the latter was hacked and scammed out of thousands of bitcoins a few weeks ago. Following the hack, the owners then did a runner with many more thousands of bitcoins, prompting Black Market Reloaded to announce its closure due to not wanting all the heat that would come from being the only big player in town. At the time of writing it's still up, but is in the “shutdown procedure.”

If BRM's closure completes without incident, it will be the first market of its kind to bow out with arrests or scams

Since then even more marketplaces have sprung up, most notably perhaps, Silk Road 2.0, with perhaps the most noticeable addition of a new Dread Pirate Roberts, the pseudonym that the alleged (and arrested) SR founder, Ross Ulbricht posted under. However despite only being around for a few weeks, the new Silk Road has already run into problems, with an ongoing DDOS attack forcing it offline and leading to the following cryptic, threatening message from the owners:

“We believe we know who is behind the attack too and I want to ensure this is well known – we do not negotiate with people trying to harm our market because we will overcome it eventually. To the people behind this attack I will only give one warning that if this continues then we will return the favor starting with your database which we already now hold – false promises and tall claims cannot fool us because lying though your teeth about your “security” is easily exposed. We like competition, but if you want to take jealously out on this community then I will not sit by idly.”

So it sounds like one of the many sites that have sprung up in recent weeks/months have decided to take on Silk Road, which is something that may have happened with Atlantis and the original SR earlier this year, though it was never confirmed who was responsible for that DDOS attack.

KitGuru Says: What's clear at this point, is that shutting down one of these marketplaces is redundant. They make far too much money too quickly; someone will always fill that niche until there's a properly regulated market elsewhere, similar perhaps to the efforts being made in Colorado, Washington and countries like Peru.

As usual, Kitguru doesn't encourage anyone to visit these sites, but if you are going to, make sure you get a correct URL as there are always a lot of phishing links going around. 

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