Last Tuesday, freshly-started Poseidon Market (http://poseidonzskufuwb.onion.market) was doxxed on the day of its birth, with its server location revealed by The Real Deal admin. The Poseidon administrator commented within hours, noting that the error had been fixed and the server location moved.
On Wednesday, we published an interview with Mr. Nice Guy, the market admin responsible for the DDoS attacks which took place through mid- to late May and caused weeks of downtime for major markets such as Agora, Nucleus, Middle Earth, Abraxas, and three others. In the interview, Mr. Nice Guy responds to a proposal—leaked last Sunday—that he made to his attackers, asking them to coordinate with him and run his market as a fractional reserve and exit scam, with the end goal being the theft of users’ coins and the payment of up to US$2 million to the DDoSers in the form of a partnership in exchange for immunity from the attacks. According to Mr. Nice Guy, the proposal was entirely strategic and meant to give him the upper hand, being a much smaller market with much less money to blow than larger ones:
“That comment will follow me for a long time to come. But if you understand the circumstances, one’s perspective can easily be changed. You see, I am not the most powerful market; I am still small compared to others. If any other market offered them a similar deal, I could be out-bid in a split second. [I] remember my unwillingness to dig into the escrow reserves, so as to ensure they would not become some sort of double agent type thing playing the same game with multiple markets.
I had to make it at least seem like there was a strong chance that I am indeed the best to be associated with, and [that] talking with other markets would just jeopardize their lucrative future. At face value it looks bad, but in reality it kept my customers’ escrow funds safe and gave me the time I needed to get stronger. Once the story broke, almost instantly I was DDOSed to hell and back. But thanks to that time I had to calmly develop better measures, I could still allow people to withdraw.”
It is up to the reader to decide whether or not Mr. Nice Guy is as innocent as his Internet moniker and whether or not his scheme with the attackers was legitimate. Did Mr. Nice Guy truly make his proposal strategically, or did he lie afterwards when caught to cover his ass and avoid bankruptcy? Feel free to drop your opinion in the comment box below.
On Thursday, we interviewed Steven Ruijter aka CosaNostra, a moderator for the now-defunct Black Market Reloaded and developer of the raided Utopia marketplace for which he spent one year in a Dutch prison. Others arrested with him in the bust have been sentenced between two and six years—certainly, of course, not life without parole)—and Steven now runs a cannabis apotheca, dispensing high-CBD cannabis for patients seeking nontraditional medication. He has been forbidden by a Dutch judge to use the Tor network.
On Saturday, DeepDotWeb finally announced its .onion.market URL. Browse with complete anonymity at http://deepdot35wvmeyd5.onion.market/! The site is fully functional, save for some minor bugs which will be worked out in the coming weeks.
On Monday, the Haarlem court extended the remand of three large, Dutch, Silk Road-era vendors. Fifty-five year-old HollandOnline, arrested in December 2014 after a policeman observed an in-person drug deal, was arguably the largest Dutch vendor in operation; following his arrest, authorities confiscated over a kilogram of MDMA, 9 kilograms of ecstasy pills, and 400k euros in cash and BTC, along with additional ecstasy tablets, MDMA, and LSD sheets in his vehicle. Also arrested was twenty-five year-old AmsterdamUnited, the supplier of the other two men involved in the trial, including twenty-four year-old Evolution vendor AlbertHeijn, whose arrest resulted in the seizure of cash and 487 BTC (~US$112k) by the authorities. The next trial hearing is scheduled for September 1.
Today, we published a reflection on the recently released Global Drug Survey, which included data about darknet markets in its report. The data shows that 45% of DNM users consume the same range of drugs as previously, with 30% saying that they consume a wider range of drugs than previously; the data also shows that Sweden has the highest per-capita DNM use, with over 18.0% of the sample population admitting they have bought drugs over the darknet within the past 12 months. Sweden is followed by Poland with 13.9%, then Norway with 11.7%, Denmark with 11.6%, the UK with 12.2%, and Scotland with 11.1%. The United States is comparatively uninvolved with darknet markets it would seem, despite the American nationality of multiple DNM creators and administrators (including the original Silk Road), with only 8% of the sample population admitting to having ordered drugs over the darknet within the last 12 months.
Ultimately, it has been a relatively uneventful week in the darknet; stay tuned throughout the week for regular updates from DeepDot, and don’t be afraid to subscribe to receive email notifications of new posts (which you can do on any page). As always, be mindful of security and suspicious of new markets; above all else, protect yourself and use TOR, and never forget to PGP-encrypt sensitive information. Stay frosty.