Over a year after the original Silk Road’s closure and over a month after the international law enforcement operation, dubbed Operation Onymous, successfully took down Silk Road 2.0 and more than 400 other online black marketplaces, Agora Marketplace still remains strong and thriving.
Currently, Agora Marketplace is one of the largest online black marketplaces that deal with both illegal as well as legal items and services. According to Digital Citizens Alliance, the two biggest online black marketplaces currently are Agora Marketplace and Evolution Marketplace, which combined had more than 46,000 listings of drugs for sale as of last month. At the time of the closure of Silk Road 2.0, Agora Marketplace had both a longer track record and was bigger than other dark marketplaces. It is one of the safest online black marketplaces and it has been quite popular because since its inception it has offered customers unparalleled anonymity and privacy when performing their transactions. However, a major issue arose in Agora’s withdrawal and deposit system that left some people questioning whether Agora could still be trusted. Agora Marketplace requires a referral link (Agora Invite) to register both as seller as well as buyer. It uses crytpocurrency Bitcoin to help hide their identity and offers normal escrow services, making it easy to transact and very reliable. Agora Marketplace rules prevent the sale of stolen property, assassinations and other services such as child pornography, poisons, weapons of mass destruction, etc., that cause harm to other people.
Another online black marketplace that has experienced tremendous growth is Evolution Marketplace. It features a handful of security minded features that its predecessor websites didn’t have, this includes an option to conduct “multi-signature transactions” that enable buyer’s bitcoins to be put into an escrow account. The account is in turn, controlled by Evolution, seller as well as buyer. To move the money to the seller, these entities must agree.
Silk Road Reloaded, a new version of Silk Road, has been launched, rather than using the Tor network to cover its tracks, it has opted for the lesser known I2p anonymous decentralized network.Unlike its predecessors it accepts at least 8 different types of cryptocurrencies.
Other big online black marketplaces that have appeared after Silk Road 2.0’s closure of include System D, Nucleus, Panacea Flower Sanctuary, Silkkitien (Dutch Market) and Topina.