If the November 2014 operation by law enforcement authorities to cripple the Internet underworld had any impact on the darknet as a whole, it is not apparent, with the unprecedented growth of darknet sites such as the Agora Marketplace and Evolution, which were able to survive the extensive crackdown. These two onion sites are now the new leaders in the seemingly indefatigable darknet marketplace.
After the shutdown of the original Silk Road and last year’s Operation Onymous took down Silk Road 2.0, Agora Marketplace became one of the biggest darknet marketplaces offering both unlawful and lawful items. Agora even went a step further to be much bigger than Silk Road ever was. The site has thousands of products on sale, and only accepts Bitcoin as payment.
At the moment, Agora Marketplace is one of largest darknet sites in business. Besides the fact that Agora deals in contraband, it operates just like any other online retail platform. Buyers on Agora can use normal escrow services to protect themselves from unscrupulous vendors.
Agora’s popularity is believed to have been fueled by its exclusivity. Buyers and vendors have to be invited to register as Agora members. Although the invitation codes are readily available, it still creates a sense that not everybody can register as a member on the site, particularly law enforcement authorities and hackers.
Based on trade volumes, Evolution is also one of the largest darknet sites. Like Agora, Evolution offers deals in contraband and offers escrow services to its users, although it also offers a multi-sig feature on all its transactions for those who would rather not use the escrow service.
Agora Marketplace and Evolution are now the currentmarket leaders on the darknet. These sites have numerous vendors and continue to grow in membership everyday. Many darknet users consider these sites reliable and efficient, which has greatly contributed to their growing popularity.