The history of online drug marketplaces, darknet markets, tor markets, however you want to term them, has been a rocky one. While the original Silkroad had a very long run, it was eventually downed by old fashioned police work, then its successors fell to hacks, scams and exponential growth and several of the hydra like successors to those marketplaces have had big problems too. Silkroad 2.0 has been the biggest of the bunch for a while now, topping 15,000 active listings earlier this month, but it too has now been hacked and it’s sent vendors and customers running for cover.
It all relates to the problems with bitcoin, or more accurately, the way bitcoin transactions have been implemented, highlighted recently by Mt Gox. The vulnerability ultimately made it possible for the Silkroad 2.0 hacker to transfer all of the marketplace’s funds to their own private holdings, making them a millionaire overnight. While the admin on the site has apologised profusely and promised a lot of changes going forward, the lack of security around a central location and the fact that for the next few months while security is improved, all transactions on thee road will be without the (relative) protection of escrow, vendors are setting up shop for themselves.
This involves the creation of their own tor marketplace site, just for their own products. You’ll need to know the vendor is trustworthy and you’ll need to be willing to finalise early, but at least the chance of you being scammed or losing your coins is reduced. However this is more of a regression than an evolution. The plus points of sites like Silkroad, were that it allowed customers to view vendor reviews, talk about their favourite products and their quality, and receive drug health advice. That’s less accessible via vendor specific tor shopfronts.
While the convenience of ordering online and the delivery to your door means you can avoid any real life confrontations or mingling with harder criminals, vendors moving to a more traditional one on one, dealer system is not the stepping stone to the future that many Silkroad users, and original alleged owner of SR1, Ross Ulbricht, hoped to achieve.
KitGuru Says: As usual, Kitguru doesn’t recommend anyone visit any of these sites and that advice rings true now more than ever, with the security of sites like Silkroad really called into question.