Attention: Empire Market has been shut down. Today, the information from this article can serve only as historical background. If you want to buy products that were once sold on Empire Market, we recommend that you visit DarkFox Market, Vice City Market or White house Market.
Empire Market: what was it and what was it famous for?
When Empire Market was still functioning, it was the largest platform of this sort on the darknet. It came into the limelight soon after the renowned AlphaBay was closed. AlphaBay customers were looking for a new safe place to buy goods and Empire managed to meet the demand very well.
Then, another prominent player retired from the darknet — that is, the Dream market. This enabled Empire to expand its customer base and inventory even further. More and more vendors flocked to this platform to sell their products.
What did a new customer need to do to register on Empire Market?
To create an account on the platform, a new client needed to push the Register button and indicate the following data in the fill-in form:
- PIN (6 digits)
- Login phrase
Also, the system asked new customers to indicate the currency for the display of product prices. The list of fiat currencies included the following options.
- USD (United States Dollar)
- CAD (Canadian Dollar)
- AUD (Australian Dollar)
- EUR (Euro)
- GBP (British Pound)
This selection proved that people from all around the world used Empire Market. This brand was well-known on a global scale and set the benchmark for all the dark web.
As for the cryptocurrencies, Empire Market supported only three major ones — that is, BTC (Bitcoin), LTC (Litecoin) and XMR (Monero). For users with limited or no experience in the crypto sphere, Monero was the best option. This coin provides outstanding guarantees of anonymity. Using cutting-edge cryptography, it hides all the information about transactions, including sums, destinations, origins and of course the names of people involved. Empire Market created optimal conditions for those who wanted to buy and sell goods in the darknet, safely and hassle-free.
What could people purchase on Empire Market?
When the market was still functioning, it featured the following categories:
- Drugs and Chemicals
- Guides and Tutorials
- Counterfeit Items
- Digital Products
- Jewels and Gold
- Carded Items
- Other Listings
- Software and Malware
- Security and Hosting
In total, the platform offered its customers over 45,000 listings.
How secure was Empire Market?
“Security” is a very broad and multi-faceted notion. To answer the question, we should try to look at it from a few different angles.
If we talk about account security, the market enforced a mandatory 2-factor authentication policy and required all its vendors to use PGP. When a third party wanted to hijack a vendor account on Empire, they should have put considerable effort into it — unless they somehow had got hold of the vendor’s private key. Cryptography made it much more difficult for hackers to fake the vendor’s identity.
Another potential hazard is vendor exit scams. The administration of Empire Market took three meaningful measures to prevent this type of risk.
- To be allowed to sell anything on the market, a new vendor had to provide a bond of $300. Some might say that this is an affordable sum and many markets ask for bigger bonds. However, in combination with other rules, even such a modest sum turned out to be efficient.
- If a vendor tried to deal outside the market, that was considered a major offense. As soon as the Empire administration discovered such cases, it permanently banned the vendors from the platform.
- Vendors were not allowed to ask their customers to finalize their orders early. That would lead to a permanent ban too. The only exception from this rule were the cases when the administration gave its explicit permission to vendors to finalize the orders early. That would happen on extremely rare occasions.
This set of measures provided enough security for Empire Market. Its moderators always kept vigilant and behaved proactively as soon as they noticed some suspicious actions. It would be fair to say that Empire Market was one of the safest dark web marketplaces of its time.
Finally, the third type of risk is connected with the exit scam of the market’s administration. No dark web market can give you a 100% guarantee that one day, it won’t become an exit scam. No matter how credible and well-regulated any marketplace is, it operates illegally — which means anything might happen to it at any moment. However, compared to other marketplaces, Empire produced a very favorable impression. It had hardly any symptoms of a potential exit scam.
The only aspect that made some people suspicious was the wallet system. The users of the platform needed to deposit cryptocurrency to one of their market addresses to have the funds count towards their balance on the Empire. In case of an exit scam, the administration would cancel all withdrawals and stop allowing payments to vendors to go through. They would embezzle the funds from their users’ wallets and turn off the site. Every marketplace that relies on a wallet system might become an exit scam one day, following this scheme. Yet it doesn’t mean that each site that has wallets will inevitably become an exit scam. The professionalism of the Empire administration convinced vendors and customers that it was a safe and reliable project.