Alphabay Market

Alphabay Market URL

alphabayp55oj3gihdzdfd47vp6gk6hbew2ub6wfgkz3kb66rtxmhvad.onion

Date: 21, May, 2022

Status: Active

 

And Just Like That..AlphaBay Market is Open Again

With the Matrix, Ghostbusters, and even Sex and the City making their way back to the screens, who could expect that AlphaBay Market’s revival would be the most surprising reboot of the year. Surely, this event genuinely shook the darknet community, leaving people with many questions and mixed reactions. However, DeSnake assures the public that he has learned some valuable lessons from the AlphaBay’s downfall, and he’s here to restore its reputation. So, let’s see what this new version has to offer.

AlphaBay Market Overview

Main Features

Established in December 2014 (closed in 2017), relaunched in August 2021
Current status Active
Accepted currencies Monero
Escrow with Multisig No
Wallet-free payments No
Commission 2% for traditional escrow transactions, 4% for Finalize Early deals
2 FA with PGP Yes
Forced PGP For vendors
Autoshop Yes
Finalize Early Yes

Additional Authentic Features

  • Alphaguard Wallet Protection
  • Automatic Dispute Resolver
  • Advanced Trust/Distrust System
  • Vendor Shared Account Access
  • Default Profile Privacy for Buyers
  • ScamWatch Team
  • Warning Points System
  • Vendor/Listing Report System

AlphaBay Market URLs

  • I2P
    tnaefzkcnhryeusi7hdpqujqiqmnbtah3dmjcg3gvezohunjuxbq.b32.i2p
  • Tor
    alphabay522szl32u4ci5e3iokdsyth56ei7rwngr2wm7i5jo54j2eid.onion

Long Story Short

If you’re an old-school darknet user, you, probably, already know what the legend says. But if you’re a complete neophyte, and the name AlphaBay doesn’t ring any bells with you, let’s do some recap.

Once upon a time, in December 2014, a Canadian citizen Alexandre Cazes, known in the digital world as Alpha02, officially launched the website that was destined to become one of the biggest darknet markets in history. The platform managed to lure in 14 000 new users within the first 3 months. It reached the number of 200 000 users by the time of its first anniversary. When the law enforcement finally busted them, they had more than 400 000 users, 9 000 vendors, 369 000 listings, and $600 000-$800 000 of transactions per day. Basically, at this point, AlphaBay was 10 times bigger than the previous darknet market leader, Silk Road.

What was it about this particular marketplace that people found so appealing? They were the pioneers when it came to technological aspect. AlphaBay’s developers applied multiple sophisticated features and edge-cutting technologies, which ended up becoming inherent elements of almost any contemporary darknet market. They implemented escrow system, added Monero as a payment cryptocurrency, and invented such options as automatic selling, autoshop, sticky listings, etc.

Considering their advanced technological background, it is a little surprising to find out that is has been, in fact, a series of operational security errors that lead to the websites’ downfall in July 2017. AlphaBay, Hansa, and many other darknet markets were closed during the Operation Bayonet that was successfully carried out by the joined efforts of the United States, Canada, Netherlands, and Thailand (mainly by the FBI, DEA, and Europol in cooperation with the local police forces) during spring and summer of 2017. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have a happy ending, Alexandre Cazes was found dead in his cell soon after he was arrested. Some people claim it was a suicide, some suspect that the death was staged. Either way, it is a tragedy.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King?

It’s been a long time since someone dominated the darknet trading industry to the extent AlphaBay did. Yet, in August 2021 one of the former admins announced that he’s ready to reboot the original AlphaBay platform and make it the major player in the field again.

It all started when the chief scientist of blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, Tom Robinson, submitted a post on LinkedIn about a Ghostbin announcement made by someone with the alias “DeSnake”. In this statement and later in the interview to WIRED online magazine, DeSnake firmly and clearly declared what are his (he told WIRED he uses male pronouns) primary goals concerning the new AlphaBay Market:

  1. to clear the name of Alexandre Cazes and commemorate his legacy properly;
  2. to become a new role model for all the existing and future darknet markets;
  3. to create a truly secure marketplace that would be impossible to shut down by any law enforcement action.

To prove that he’s a rightful heir, DeSnake signed his Ghostbin message with his original PGP key that he used for the AlphaBay communications. Of course, the speculations started immediately. Robinson and some other people confirmed that the submitted credentials are legitimate. Still, some darknet users, like this one called “Paris”, urge others to stay cautious while approaching the new website:

[DeSnake] did verify his identity and provide proof that he was the tech staff at the original AlphaBay <…> I’m not saying he isn’t compromised; but if what he offers is true, at least some people will want to know about it.

Obviously, there was a fair share of those who didn’t believe in DeSnake’s good intentions and decided that he started this venture simply to cash in on AlphaBay’s reputation. For instance, someone with the pseudonym “lordlucifer” commented about the situation on the Exploit forum, and it seems that the user is sure, this platform is definitely a scam:

This is the most stupid thing that people can trust. After Alpha died there was a new market called Empire with same look as Alpha and it just scammed people. Same as this new ‘Alpha’.

What to Expect

All in all, “lordlucifer” is right about one thing, plenty of darknet markets tried to replace AlphaBay. People thought that Dream Market was going to take the crown, but its administrator and a very productive vendor Gal Vallerius was arrested within a month after the Operation Bayonet was over. In April 2019, the site was closed for good.

Many buyers and sellers decided to choose Empire as their new shelter for illegal activities, but some administrators betrayed their trust and pulled out the exit scam that cost its users a million dollar damage. White House Market with its advanced security features and wide product range managed to retain the predominant position, but on the 1st of October 2021 they announced their peaceful retirement.

Thus, anyone who aims at reviving AlphaBay in all its former glory, deserves a certain amount of skepticism. Let’s see how DeSnake is promoting his new project.

New Vision

Surely, the dark web world has changed a lot since the AlphaBay’s demise in 2017. Coming back with the same agenda would be immature, to say the least. Luckily, the current owner of the platform has a unique and ambitious mission in mind.

We are back to show you how it should be done and leave a legacy unmatched by any other marketplace in the net to date.

Some of his major goals include:

  1. Providing a viable alternative for the money craving marketplaces or websites created by amateurs. DeSnake points out that this part of AlphaBay’s administration successfully escaped prosecution and has unsurpassed skills when it comes to running a darknet market. Of course, all the other staff has been changed, but the owner can personally vouch for them. All these people combined their efforts to build this place from scratch and turn it into a bulletproof fortress.
  2. Using the obtained knowledge and experience to create a plethora of innovations. This will help them set industry standards and inspire the new generation of darknet users that will be more capable of protecting themselves from law enforcement and scammers.
  3. Creating an anonymous, autonomous, and decentralized network that other marketplaces can join in the future, allowing the participants to buy and sell on multiple platforms without being required to trust the particular market with your money or register on each site individually. A certain profit percentage will be used to finance this project and bring it to life.

Be part of something bigger, something new, something beneficial to the entire DNM scene, something which comes once in a generation and makes a core change to how people buy and sell in a private, secure and anonymous way.

New Features

Some platforms choose to prioritize security, like Versus, some emphasize contribution from the community, such as ToRReZ, while AlphaBay intends to rely on both. DeSnake told WIRED that his former partner Alexandre Cazes often overruled his suggestions about AlphaBay’s security system as excessive and unnecessary. Now everyone knows how it turned out for poor Alexandre. Hence, the current owner plans to implement many of those rejected ideas in his new project.

I had given [Cazes] many ‘holy grails’ of anonimity, but he chose to use only certain things while he branded other methods/ways as ‘overkill’. In this game there is no overkill.

Obviously, AlphaBay implemented the majority of features a respectable modern marketplace should have. It offers:

  • Classic escrow system. You send the money to the market’s account and a vendor receives it only after you mark the order as complete. The commission for these transactions is 2%.
  • Finalize Early option. A vendor gets the payment as soon as the package is shipped. Sellers become eligible for the FE status only after they prove that they are trustworthy. The platform charges 4% for these transactions.
  • 2-Factor Authentication with PGP encryption. Besides username and password, you need to enter a message encrypted and signed with your public & private PGP keys.
  • Anti-DDoS firewall and multiple captchas.
  • PIN code for additional security.
  • Auto-delete for inactive conversations.

Some well-known functions, like Autodispatch Listings/Automatic Selling and CC/Autoshop, are also worth mentioning. Both of them were designed to make purchasing of account info, credit card details, and other similar listings easier. The first one allows to buy as many items as you want without interacting with a vendor, while the second one enables you to complete your order within a click.

AlphaBay’s administration decided to make Monero its only acceptable payment currency due to its enhanced privacy protection capabilities compared to the ones of Bitcoin. This choice is understandable, but this cryptocurrency doesn’t provide a decent Multisig solution. Yet, DeSnake and his team intend on adding Multisig option in the future because it’s an effective measure in resolving disputes and minimizing damage from exit scams.

The platform doesn’t offer wallet-free payment. In these circumstances, it’s better to transfer the exact amount of money you need to pay for your order. This way you won’t lose any money from your account in case of an exit scam.

All of these features could be enough to call it a decent marketplace. Yet, it wouldn’t be the AlphaBay we know and respect if it didn’t offer a variety of its own unique solutions.

Security & Privacy Protection

  • Both I2P and Tor mirrors. I2P software is more secure when it concerns privacy. However, it doesn’t allow you to browse the clearnet and is more complicated to use.
  • AlphaGuard (AG) System protects users in case seizures or raids happen and ensures they can regain access to their wallet funds (including escrow), disputes, and other important data.
  • Automatic Dispute Resolver (ADR) System means that seller and buyer exchange propositions that they can accept or reject without a third-party interference. The options include extending escrow time, replacement options, full or partial refund.
  • Default Profile Privacy for buyers implies that the buyer’s profile information (feedback, ratings, comments, etc.) is visible to the seller only when the client placed an order and the vendor needs to accept or reject it.

Marketing & Advertising

  • Vendor Shared Account Access allows vendors to permit their employees or partners to take your role on the platform, e.g. reply to messages, perform orders, and do other stuff.
  • Discount System for listings automatically calculates the discount that should be applied to the order depending on the amount that was purchased.
  • Referrals/Affiliate System. AlphaBay is willing to reward those who recommend the marketplace to potential users by giving them up to 25% of the commission from the new client’s first transaction.
  • Sticky/Featured Listings are used to highlight your products and bypass other search results.
  • Search Results with Small Vendor Listing Chance was invented to provide small vendors with an opportunity to score a higher position among the search results.

Community Participation

  • ScamWatch Team consists of the most active users who observe the market and report suspicious activity.
  • Warning Points System allows both ScamWatch and staff members to punish and even ban the accounts of users who violate or disregard the existing platform rules.
  • Vendor/Listing Report System. You can report a suspicious vendor or listing. But be careful, too many false accusations can result in a warning.
  • Trust/Distrust Level System. Every user on the AlphaBay market has a Trust Level (TL). You can display your attitude to a certain vendor/buyer by clicking “Trust” or “Distrust” button. Plus, the actions you take on the platform, e.g. reporting a product, affect your TL as well. The higher your TL is, the more features are available to you. For instance, you need to reach Trust Level 3 to unlock the autoshop option (this stands for both sellers & buyers).
  • Forum. This part of the site is supposed to become a shelter for everyone who wants to speak freely and discuss any topic, including hacking, anonymity, fraud/carding, drugs safety, or malware. Creating private sub-communities, such as the famous VXcode, is also permitted and even encouraged.

Amended Product Range

AlphaBay remains a place where you can find all sorts of illegal products and services, including drugs, malware, digital items, or forgeries. In addition, this version of the market has two new categories:

  • Services (programming, remote administration, graphic design, language translation, etc.);
  • Automotive (hacking, exploits, parts, keys, etc.).

Following the examples of many major respectable darknet markets, AlphaBay decided to implement a harm reduction policy and ban certain products from the platform. The list of prohibited items/services includes:

  • services and products that harm other living creatures (e.g. murder for hire);
  • discussion of weapons (even if they are for self-defense);
  • erotica/pornography (logins for the major sites are allowed);
  • fentanyl or fentanyl-related substances;
  • COVID-19 vaccines;
  • doxing (and even threatening to do it);
  • any Russia/Belarus/Kazakhstan/Armenia/Kyrgyzstan-related activity;
  • ransomware selling, deploying, or discussing.

Trust, but Verify

Of course, you have every right to be suspicious about this newly emerged AlphaBay’s successor. Moreover, you can find other markets with advanced security capabilities and unique approach to the darknet trading, including Monopoly, Versus, and ToRReZ. Still, DeSnake offers many features and initiatives that seem intriguing to say the least. Regardless of whether it ends up as a success or a failure, it will still be exciting to observe the AlphaBay’s journey. But if you decide to give this platform a try, don’t forget that any darknet market is doomed to cease its existence eventually, so be prepared and don’t defy the safety rules.