AlphaBay Market – one of the Dark Web’s largest marketplace for drugs, guns and weapons and other illegal or banned items, is down since last Tuesday night. Erratic communication from the site’s admins related to system maintenance is leading some to speculate that the market may have disappeared for good this time, like many other darkweb marketplaces with their owners running away with the escrow money of users.
AlphaBay was about twice as large as the Silk Road when it was shut down in October 2013 and was doing $600,000 to $800,000 in transactions daily earlier this year. Alphabay’s competitors included other large darkweb marketplaces such as Valhalla and Dream Market, although both smaller in comparison.
There’s evidence of massive bitcoin withdrawals from the site’s accounts, with one blockchain record showing withdrawal transactions totalling 1,479.03904709 BTC (which accounts to about $3.8 million), from an list of dozen smaller accounts. This led users to speculate that the site’s admins may have shut down the site in order to steal user funds.
The site was also used as a marketplace for stolen credit cards and other financial data along with the massive listings of drugs. AlphaBay has come under scrutiny most recently because of the many vendors who use it to sell the deadly synthetic opioids and in recent months, authorities in the United States have arrested several large vendors on AlphaBay who had sold synthetic opioids like U-47700.
Dark Web marketplaces pulling down the curtains is quite common wherein admins abruptly take sites offline and steal the bitcoins stored in user accounts. In May, the Outlaw market shut its doors, claiming that it was hacked and quite similarly in 2015, the Evolution marketplace disappeared with $12 million of user money.