For three days, Empire Market, one of the largest markets in dark web, has disappeared, as reported Bloomberg. As of yet, no one knows what happened, and of course the identities of the directors remain unknown.

According to cybersecurity expert Mark Arena, interviewed by the US news agency, there are generally two possibilities to explain the disappearance of such illegal markets: either the administrators were arrested or they left with the cash. This last option, called exit scam, literally a “ exit scam “, Allows the company to stop honoring its orders, while collecting the money for them. And finally, to disappear from radar, pockets full of cryptocurrencies.

“Disappear with your funds”

The admission of one of the moderators of the site seems to confirm this last hypothesis, although at the same time, it adds to the mystery.

I am flabbergasted and ashamed by the apparent decision of my administrator to disappear with your funds », He wrote according to Bloomberg. ” It is difficult to understand what is really going on. I am in shock.

This testimonial also matches that of users who report that they can no longer access their accounts.

Nevertheless, rumors are rife, especially on Reddit. Some think the site would be “just” down due to hacker attacks – since it happened recently. Others believe that the closure ofEmpire Market was sponsored by Interpol or the FBI, and in that case it would be a real victory for the international authorities over the dark web.

A market estimated between one and ten million dollars

Empire Market was the realm of the illicit. Known for deals drugs, this marketplace made it possible to obtain false documents (passports, licenses, etc.) but also malware. After other sites, like Silk Road and AlphaBay, also now offline, Empire Market was the most active market on the dark web, highlighted Bloomberg.

On these sites, goods are exchanged for Bitcoins. For each transaction, the amounts in cryptocurrency pass through a deposit, managed by the site. The money is then controlled by the administrators. The cybersecurity expert interviewed by Bloomberg thus estimates that the amount held in transit by Empire Market should be ” probably high “. The sum could be between ” one to ten million ” of dollars.

Sources : Bloomberg via The Verge

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