Major anonymous free market, Alphabay, has been reported to have been offline since Tuesday. The detection of a large sum of bitcoin being moved from a wallet believed to be owned by Alphabay and scant official statements regarding the outage has led to speculations that the dark market may be attempting to conduct an exit scam – despite a lack of hard evidence to support the claim.
Alphabay Employee ‘Trappy’ Posted on Reddit This Morning but No Reason was Given for the Site’s Downtime
Alphabay, a leading anonymous dark market, has reportedly been offline since Tuesday. Alphabay failed to issue an official statement (see below) until 28 hours after the outage was first reported, leading to speculation that the anonymous free market may be attempting to conduct an ‘exit scam’ – in which the marketplace suddenly disappears, keeping the bitcoin and cryptocurrency stored in their users’ accounts.
A user named ‘Trappy’, who is believed to be employed with Alphabay, posted on Reddit this morning, warning the website’s users that the downtime may result in an increase in phishing sites, but no reason was given for the site’s downtime. So far, Trappy’s post is the sole “official” acknowledgment that has been made regarding Alphabay’s downtime.
The outage comes weeks after Alphabay announced that it would be integrating Zcash payments, citing high fees and uncertainty surrounding bitcoin’s upcoming hard-fork as the principal catalysts for decision. Some have suggested the outage may be a consequence of the Zcash integration, which could have caused unexpected security vulnerabilities – and may explain the unwillingness of Alphabay to provide detail regarding the cause of its outage.
Despite Widespread Speculation, the Causes Behind Alphabay’s Outage Is Currently Unknown
Speculations that Alphabay may be trying to exit with its customer’s cryptocurrency began to grow following the discovery that 1,479.03904709 bitcoin has been moved from an account associated with Alphabay, valued at approximately 3.8 million USD. Suggestions have been made that Alphabay may be attempting to sell their bitcoin before bitcoin’s upcoming hard-fork – which could be true irrespective of if the funds in question once belonged to the dark market’s users.
The darknet markets have witnessed several exit scams in previous years. In May 2017, prominent anonymous dark market, Outlaw, abruptly ceased operations without refunding users’ bitcoins – citing an unsubstantiated hack as the catalyst. In 2015 the then leading dark marketplace, Evolution, disappeared with $12 millions USD worth of bitcoin. The seizure of The Silk Road and arrest of Ross Ulbricht also served as the catalyst for several early anonymous markets to close shop and flee with their users’ bitcoin.
Despite widespread speculation, the causes behind Alphabay’s outage is at the time of writing unknown.
Do you think that Alphabay is attempting to conduct an exit scam? Or do you think the dark marketplace will return to operations? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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