Several darknet users are still coming to terms with the sudden disappearance of Evolution Marketplace with millions worth of their money during its exit scam last week. Understandably, when Agora Marketplace went offline in what turned out to be a routine maintenance task, there were fears that another exit scam was unfolding.
The reason for the 3-day downtime was a maintenance the site was conducting. Nevertheless, as soon as the downtime was noted, users took to popular Internet forums spreading fears that another exit scam was in play.
In fact, Agora administrators had to come forward and dispel the fears by explaining that the downtime was being used to resolve an issue regarding the site’s security protocols. The darknet site, the admin wrote, had not “run off” with people’s money, and would be back online in no time.
In the message from the administration, users were even discouraged to make deposits, but instead wait until the site was fully operational. Obviously, no site trying to orchestrate an exit scam would dare its users to do such a thing.
Truthfully, Agora’s credibility has stood the test of time, and this recent scare obviously serves to reinforce its legitimacy in the seemingly ephemeral and unpredictable darkent world. Actually, Agora has had significant downtimes in the past, but this time, the sour aftertaste left by the recent Evolution exit scam on many darket users resulted in suspicions that another exit scam was in the offing.
Agora Marketplace is currently the largest darknet site, and also one of the oldest, having outlived Silk Road 2.0, which was taken down by law enforcement authorities last year, and Evolution Marketplace, which was taken down its unscrupulous owners a few weeks ago in an exit scam.
If the 3 days of downtime say anything about Agora Marketplace, it would be that the legitimacy of this darknet site has few or no matches in this controversial online ecosystem. The downtime must have cost the darknet site millions in sales, and this proves that the site is ready to make significant sacrifices to ensure its users have a reliable platform on which do their selling and buying. Agora Marketplace is currently back online and operating as usual.
It seems as if the dark web has become a little less murky thanks to the launch of OnionCity, a new search engine platform which allows users to explore the hidden corner of the Internet much easier.
The search engine was officially launched on 11th of February 2014 when co-founder Virgil Griffith announced it via a Tor-talk mailing list. Before inception, the creators admit they had some issues deciding which to block and those to let free. Though not much information is out concerning the outcome of these discussions, it was decided that U.S. is the best legal jurisdiction for which their servers can reside. It works in a relatively simple way; the back-end consists of a Tor2Web proxy which is designed to surpass content found in-between the primary Internet system and Tor’s Onion Web. This is where the so-called onion sites reside.
OnionCity front-end works as a lesser Google product given that it also has a Custom Search Engine; this allows users to build their own specialized search engine which run parallel to Google’s original index. The program is set to make anonymous web publishing become more popular amongst the masses.
Since going online, the search engine’s current traffic level stands at around 40 hits per second and receives around 20,000 new visitors per day. Griffith further adds that, its index size multiplies on a daily basis and now stands at an impressive 1.5 million pages.Agora Marketplace
Agora Marketplace is one of the most popular black market sites on the darknet today. The darknet marketplace facilitate in the sale of both legal and illegal items via pseudo accounts held by different vendors. All trade conducted at Agora Marketplace is done through the digital currency “Bitcoin”. Unlike most its competitors which have shut down due to government crackdowns, Agora Marketplace continues operating unaffected by these seizures. That’s the reason why most people prefer trading at Agora than the other darknet platforms.
The darknet is booming and growing much faster even after the pioneer Silk Road was shut down by law enforcement agencies. In fact the seizure of the original Silk Road, Silk Road 2.0 and now the closure of Evolution Marketplace (Exit Scam) only created a vacuum that was quickly filled by stronger darknet sites like Agora Marketplace whose listings are increasing rapidly.
There are a great number of hidden services running on the Deep Web according to some researchers. Agora Marketplace is now the largest online black market offering unlawful items and services and uses the cryptocurrency bitcoin as the sole medium of exchange for all its transactions.The operators of the new darknet market sites like Agora Marketplace have ensured that their security is sophisticated. They quickly learn what the authorities are doing and move swiftly to change their tactics. The more they secure their marketplaces, the more they attract more members. Other individuals become conscious of the low-risk, high-gain of getting into these darknet marketplaces or the things that they can purchase.
The operators of today’s darknet sites have also chosen to be silent, contrary to the likes of Dread Pirate Roberts (operator of Silk Road), who demonstrated such high levels of political bravado that many analysts say is what gave him away to the authorities. He frequently published libertarian manifestos on user forums; even daring enough to host an online book club featuring topics like free market economic theories. Silk Road 2.0 followed suit, likewise proclaiming a number of radical principles such as the one that ran on their homepage. You are writing history with every item purchased here, it read. The administrators of Agora Market, for instance, are deeply silent and never say anything on user forums. They only respond to issues like scammers or when the site is down. The other element that perhaps keeps Agora Marketplace safe is the strict policy that outlines its site’s access as well as transactions.
Evolution Marketplace is now history. Darknet has just witnessed another addition to its growing list of scam sites after Evolution Marketplace admins executed an elaborate exit scam ending on March 18, taking with them an estimated 30 to 35 million dollars worth of their members’ money. On the other hand, Agora Marketplace, the largest darknet site since Silk Road 2.0 was taken down by authorities, remains operational and in full flight. The latest stunt by Evolution Marketplace is about to win Agora Marketplace an influx of users looking to buy illegal products online.More on the Evolution Exit Scam
From Sunday, 15th March, Evolution Marketplace users have reported having withdrawal problems, only for their worst fears to be confirmed a few days later when the site, as well as its official forums, went offline. News of the impeding exit scam were brought to light by an Evolution Marketplace employee who suspected, and later confirmed, that such the scheming plan was already in the works.
According to the employee, the admins of the darknet site, Verto and Kimble, first disabled automatic withdrawals for nearly a week before the site was finally taken offline. During this time, the said employee confronted the administrators regarding the issue, and although at first they were not forthcoming with the details of their plan, they later admitted to executing an exit scam immediately before the site was taken offline and could neither be accessed by customers or staff.
On Monday 16th, Kimble had even said that the delays in withdrawals were as a result of a backlog that would be resolved soon. When the final stage of the scam finally came to pass, buyers and vendors ended up losing an estimated 100,000 BTC, worth about $30 million. Even Evolution Marketplace staff did not get away unscathed. The employee who posted the information about the impeding exit scam claims to have lost over $20,000.Agora Marketplace About To Get a Boost in User Numbers
This is not the first time the darknet has had to experience an exit scam. Although the magnitude of the Evolution Marketplace scam clearly makes it unique, it is common in these scenarios for users of darknet sites to bounce back by joining the next best thing. Therefore, it is expected that Agora Marketplace, the next best thing for buyers and vendors of illegal products over the darknet, is about to experience an unprecedented influx of users.
Agora Marketplace is a perfect choice for darknet users looking to make a come back after the Evolution scam. This darknet site is one of the oldest around, considering that it was created before Evolution Marketplace and the recently seized Silk Road 2.0. Agora Marketplace also has quite a good reputation. After the fall of the Silk Road 2.0, Agora Marketplace became the leading darknet site, and the fall of Evolution under this exit scam only serves to consolidate Agora’s place in the tumultuous Internet underworld.Conclusion
The Evolution Marketplace scam, like other preceding major darknet exit scams, has cost its members millions of dollars, all in the form of the favorite darknet currency, bitcoin. With Evolution gone, Agora Marketplace, the largest darknet site that has also proven its reliability through its ability to weather the operation that stopped Silk Road 2.0 and its ability to outlive Evolution Marketplace is likely to get an influx of users.
No matter what you use Tor network for, whether you simply want to browse the web anonymously or find something from hidden sites like the Agora Marketplace, generally it is a pretty useful piece of software. It can be used whenever and wherever you need it. For example, you can easily keep a copy of the Tor Browser (a Firefox browser pre-configured to relay traffic through the Tor network) in a USB flash drive and use it when you are accessing public Wi-Fi.
But is Tor still secure as most people would believe it to be? There are recent reports that the FBI and other related agencies have initiated an exhaustive crackdown on most darknet marketplaces (and the closing down of Silk Road 2.0 last year was a very prominent example), including the arrest of 17 people. This is just a small number, compared to the millions of people who use Tor everyday.
The thought of the government finally infiltrating Tor is not really that farfetched, considering that the whole project was initially developed by the US Navy.
The answer though is a bit comforting for most Tor users. Tor is still very much reliable in this day age. It is important to note that Tor, from its government-backed beginnings, is a fully open source project. This means that vulnerabilities can be easily patched up as soon as people spot them.
So, yes. You can still safely use Tor and access darknet sites like Agora Marketplace if you want to. Just make sure that you anonymize yourself as much as possible (use a VPN with Tor Browser, not give any identifying details, etc.) and practice safe browsing habits.
Tor and I2P (acronym for Invisible Internet Project) are anonymous proxy networks better known for their popularity among darknet sites such as the Agora Marketplace, although this online black market is one of the Tor hidden sites. Other than the fact that I2P is less popular than the Tor hidden network, it differs considerably from the latter.
Tor uses a centralized directory-based approach in its management of the network. The centralization also enables Tor to gather and report web usage statistics. On the other hand, I2P uses a distributed network approach, which makes it faster and less prone to attacks such as those commonly used by law enforcement to take down Silk Road 2.0 and a number of other darknet sites late last year whereby servers hosting Tor hidden sites were targeted in Operation Onymous.
I2P is designed and optimized for providing quality hidden services. Some aspects of Tor, however, are optimized for other benefits. For instance, Tor uses SOCKS, which was designed to offer great functionality. This is in contrast to I2P which relies on an API, a design feature meant to improve anonymity. This difference in design makes I2P sites better suited to thwart security threats than the Tor hidden network sites.
Generally, I2P is now considered more secure than the Tor network. However, darknet sites such as the Agora Marketplace continue to run on Tor hidden network, and yet continue to evade relentless efforts of the authorities to close them down. Tor leaves a longer and better trail because it uses long lived circuits. In contrast, I2P uses short lived tunnels, and that makes I2P sites harder to take down.
Agora Marketplace is a Tor hidden site that deals in both legal and illegal products, especially illegal drugs and weapons. After the closure of Silk Road 2.0 last year, Agora Marketplace became one of the largest darknet sites, and its continued operation shows the robust privacy and security that the Tor hidden network service continues to provide to its users, even though I2P now generally offers better security.
Now that the law enforcement agencies are becoming deeply obsessed with keeping an eye on everything that happens online particularly with regard to all individual activity, a myriad of internet users are seeking anonymity and security. This can be justified on a certain level since people participating in illegal activities on the web should not be given room to carry out their crimes freely. Some of these individuals choose to conduct their illicit activities while taking advantage of the advanced darknet framework. Researchers have pointed out the fact that countless hidden services currently run on darknet. The lace, for instance, is one of the darknet sites that offer users with illegal products and services anonymously.
Furthermore, users in the Agora Marketplace handle their transactions anonymously with the aid of digital currency such as bitcoin. The anonymous marketplace is an invitation-only dark market site and operated as a Tor hidden service. It offers illicitgoods like weapons and drugs.
Darknet has created an environment where the IP addresses of users are prevented from being shared in the public domain. Furthermore, queries that contravene and go against user privacy are prevented, too. Tor is made to offer privacy and security for users thereby making it hard for prying eyes to trace the activities of such users on the internet. For this reason, darknet marketplaces like Agora Marketplace still thrive in in the cyber drug market even after relentless efforts to bring them down and unearth the identity of people who ensure that it keeps on running.
Darknet offers privacy and security that most users desire particularly when conducting certain online activities. As a result, Agora Marketplace has quickly gained popularity. The site offers advanced security system to its users to maintain anonymity and privacy of transactions. It is distinguished to be one the most secure black market sites on the darknet.
If the November 2014 operation by law enforcement authorities to cripple the Internet underworld had any impact on the darknet as a whole, it is not apparent, with the unprecedented growth of darknet sites such as the Agora Marketplace and Evolution, which were able to survive the extensive crackdown. These two onion sites are now the new leaders in the seemingly indefatigable darknet marketplace.
After the shutdown of the original Silk Road and last year’s Operation Onymous took down Silk Road 2.0, Agora Marketplace became one of the biggest darknet marketplaces offering both unlawful and lawful items. Agora even went a step further to be much bigger than Silk Road ever was. The site has thousands of products on sale, and only accepts Bitcoin as payment.
At the moment, Agora Marketplace is one of largest darknet sites in business. Besides the fact that Agora deals in contraband, it operates just like any other online retail platform. Buyers on Agora can use normal escrow services to protect themselves from unscrupulous vendors.
Agora’s popularity is believed to have been fueled by its exclusivity. Buyers and vendors have to be invited to register as Agora members. Although the invitation codes are readily available, it still creates a sense that not everybody can register as a member on the site, particularly law enforcement authorities and hackers.
Based on trade volumes, Evolution is also one of the largest darknet sites. Like Agora, Evolution offers deals in contraband and offers escrow services to its users, although it also offers a multi-sig feature on all its transactions for those who would rather not use the escrow service.
Agora Marketplace and Evolution are now the currentmarket leaders on the darknet. These sites have numerous vendors and continue to grow in membership everyday. Many darknet users consider these sites reliable and efficient, which has greatly contributed to their growing popularity.