A recent partnership between information security firm Terbium Labs and a popular blockchain analytics startup known as Skry has revealed that Dream Market is now the most popular bitcoin-based darknet market.
Terbium Labs, which is also the creator of the revolutionary Matchlight data intelligence system, partnered with Skry and together, they analyzed millions of URLs to determine which among three of the biggest darknet markets at the moment is the most popular.
Dream Market came out on top as the one with the most hits when it was placed side by side with heavyweights such as the AlphaBay Market and The Majestic Garden.
Case Study to be Used as a Countermeasure
The two firms plan to use the results of the study as a countermeasure against some of the proposed bitcoin upgrades, specifically those that will improve user privacy on the blockchain.
Some of the anticipated upgrades expected from bitcoin include Voldemort’s MimbleWimble and CoinJoin, both of which promise to enhance the privacy of bitcoin users on public blockchain transactions.
The collaboration between Terbium Labs and Skry seeks to prove more than just the popularity of Dream Market.
In addition to providing useful insight to the law enforcement in the tracking of criminal activities on dark web marketplaces, the two firms will also supply this information to financial institutions and bitcoin-based companies.
They will also be monitoring the most used products on these blockchains and other bitcoin ledgers.
Matchlight Used to Scan Millions of Public Keys
Formerly known as Coinalytics, Skry employed the use of Terbium Labs’ Matchlight to index 3.7 million public keys that were obtained from password-protected forums, Tor hidden services, darknet markets such as Dream Market, and paste sites, among others.
Out of 11,000 URLs from the dark web, 22,000 public keys were obtained. 798 of these were unique bitcoin public keys.
The URLs were then taken through Skry’s analytic platform where they were further processed and aggregated to provide more accurate associative information.
Dream Market took the lead with 353 public keys and was followed closely by AlphaBay Market, which had 298 public keys.
The Majestic Garden, the third most popular bitcoin-powered darknet market, had 75 public keys.
Bitcoin Still On Top
Despite the notably increased efforts to keep bitcoin tracking at a manageable level for entities such as law enforcement, the digital currency still stands out as the most used type of currency on dark web platforms.
Two Department of War Studies professors from King’s College in London published a report that backed the fact bitcoin is still the preferred digital currency for conducting a variety of transactions on popular darknet markets such as AlphaBay and the Dream Market.
The report, “Cryptopolitik and the Darknet” elucidated how bitcoin formed the backbone of the dark trade since it is the only common currency used in Tor hidden service trades.
Other cryptocurrencies such as Monero have seen a notable rise in usage, especially after their integration with the AlphaBay Market. Monero’s main appeal lies in its strong privacy users, something that bitcoin cannot measure up to as it is at the moment.
Nevertheless, the introduction of coin-mixing services, the most popularly known being CleanCoin, has significantly enhanced the privacy of users wishing to keep their online activities untraceable by offering bitcoin users the opportunity to exchange the digital currency with a number of sources, making it virtually impossible to track the origin of the transaction.
Combined with the fact that bitcoin is easier to convert into multiple currencies and back, it is more likely to remain the preferred method of trade.
Dream Market Leader in Quality
The popularity of Dream Market comes as no surprise given the fact that it currently produces some of the best quality products and has the most reputable vendors on the dark web.
Other than the fact that tightly-run ship also includes a 4% commission on every sale, there is little else that the site can be faulted for.
One user even tried logging in multiple times using a new ID on Tor, but it still didn’t work.
However, another user said he was not been asked for his Dream Market passwords since when the problem seemed to have started. He actually got order completed successfully.
Since the package was delivered without a problem, the user argues that it’s probably just a small technical hitch that will pass away.
For those with problems on their accounts, Dream Market has been asking for security passwords in order to place orders, despite them not setting up this option on their settings.
That was not the situation a few weeks back when they were placing orders on the darknet market, but notwithstanding these concerns, there has been no response from the support team and people are starting to get worried that it could be an exit scam in the making.
However, others said that when they signed up some six months ago, the marketplace was requesting for security passwords in order to complete orders and send coinage.
Fast forward to today, some users can’t log in using their passwords.
Whenever they try to access their accounts, the site says that they have entered the wrong password, even though they have never changed their passwords before.
Some people are also saying that admin has been banning accounts and taking away people’s bitcoin for the past few months.
Most Dream Market users are watchful following these developments, and also the fact that admin has not been keen on providing a response despite accusations touching on the site itself.
This lack of interest may be an indication that they are involved in the technicalities, but until an official statement is provided everything now just remains speculation.
There have been rumors going around on the internet that Dream Market is planning to introduce Monero on their site, but the marketplace has come out clearly to refute this claim.
Instead, maintaining that they are not in the process of doing this anytime soon despite other darknet markets already using the new cryptocurrency.
Some Dream Market vendors were optimistic with the idea of adding Monero/XMR to the available payment options, saying that they were fed up with the transaction times of Bitcoin.
The Dream Market admin responded to these statements by posting a message on Reddit, reading “Not planned to be implemented in the near future.”
Monero uses a special cryptographic sound system which allows you to release and receive funds without your transactions being revealed on the blockchain; this ensures that all your purchases, receipts and transfers, remain private by default.
Additionally, all transactions are made untraceable by implementing ring signatures that ensure online exchanges are not just private, but also have an optional trait of ambiguity.
This ensures transactions cannot be traced back to a single computer or user.
Most vendors were not impressed by DM’s decision to omit Monero, one, in particular, said that he was considering selling items on Dream Market but also thinking about accepting only XMR payments in the future.
Those in favor of the new cryptocurrency say that it’s often under-appreciated compared to other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin.
They claim external forces have been trying to censor, inhibit and scuttle the Monero project for the last two years it’s been in existence.
According to them, one of the key instruments they use is attacking the XMR online community, seemingly because all other attempts towards achieving this goal have not been successful.
Despite Dream Market refusing to use Monero, the fans are still adamant that it will be accepted as a standard cryptocurrency in the future.
It’s emerging that Dream Market has problems with its escrow account that’s denying some people access to their money.
One user tried making a transaction but got a message reading “this vendor isn’t allowed to finalize early.”
But he’s not alone in this case since many other vendors have also complained on Reddit about the same thing. Even support is not offering a solution on this matter.
Additionally, there are those saying that the escrow issue isn’t new but rather started about a month ago.
They believe this problem isn’t about finalizing early as some people think, customers have been trying to release funds in time from their escrow accounts and Dream Market is still not allowing them.
Following these developments, admin has reiterated by claiming that they have a limit on the amount of funds which can be released to them.
Given the delayed response from Dream Market, some people are already raising eyebrows as to the marketplace’s real intentions.
There are those who said he hadn’t sold products worth more than $2K in a week, but still not able to withdraw from the site.
They claim Dream Market might be scammers, and people should watch out lest they lose their funds with them.
One user tried disputing an order so as to get back his coins; however, there was no dispute button available and the order ended up being auto finalized in just 14 days.
He finished by writing on Reddit that he didn’t really understand what was going on.
Some dealers have warned others to practice extra caution when doing business on Dream Market, for the time being things seem quite hazy and not suitable for free trade. Word is going around that the marketplace is actually planning an exit scam.
To make matters more puzzling, they told some account holders that even after authorizing their FE rights all transactions above 0.6 BTC were going to be approved first by admin.
These users think it’s rather unreasonable to get the support team involved in all private deals made over 0.6 BTC, which translates to about $300.
Nevertheless, this issue isn’t a first for the marketplace since several months ago other Reddit users raised the same problem.
These disgruntled users are urging people to remove funds from their accounts, claiming the faster it’s done the better for safety purposes.
This escrow problem is affecting both small and big vendors in equal measure; even those with an overall rating of 4.95/5 have been affected. It goes to counter the belief that only low-rated accounts are being victimized, something that’s absolutely not true.
Even those who do clean business on the marketplace have complained that their escrow accounts are not working; it’s not just those selling drugs or other illegal items that have raised concern.
As matters are appearing, some users said that Dream Market is supposedly delaying release of escrow coins to traders so as to increase their overall coin sum and pull an exit exam on unsuspecting victims.
Only time will tell what happens. I personally don’t think they will exit scam yet as they are not really big enough to walk away with enough BTC to make it worth their while.
Initially, users were complaining that they couldn’t connect to any link on the darknet market.
Others also raised concern that placing orders had become a problem, and this affected trading for many individuals.
They said Dream Market has been their favorite marketplace for years, thus hoping that recent inconveniences were just for maintenance purposes.
Despite the concerns, some individuals were more optimistic claiming most marketplaces go down occasionally.
However, Dream Market hasn’t shown any real signs of doing anything malicious against its users. The fact that they had requested people to change password information was not sufficient reason for concern.
However, others commented that even after using this darknet market for more than six months, the pass and pin security prompt had never happened before.
Not all users were perturbed by the marketplace’s decision to change passwords.
There are a couple of people who actually commended them for taking this step, admitting that they had forgotten their original withdrawal pins and if it were not for DM’s security updates things were looking quite bleak for them.
The users reiterated by saying unless a solid reason is given confirming the market’s malicious behavior, they would continue trading on it since as far as they were concerned there’s nothing to worry about.
Nevertheless, there were still those who were a bit skeptical openly stating that they couldn’t sleep unless they knew what was going on.
One account holder reportedly contacted support earlier on for explanation when the market and forum were down; he asked why their forum was still down to which the response was “an admin decision.”
When the individual sought more elaboration on the matter, the admin is quoted as saying they wouldn’t tell him.
Other users on Dream Market expressed concern that the site hasn’t been very reliable of late.
First, they were prompted to change their withdrawal pins, then came a period of downtime followed by the forum itself going offline, then at the last hour the marketplace went down as well.
All these factors made them believe the site was encountering problems, and probably planning an exit scam on the users.
Despite the concerns, Dream Market came back up once more albeit with new changes to its transactions protocol.
A new way of withdrawing funds has been introduced on Dream, whereby a bitcoin mixer shall supply you with fresh BTC at a minimal rate of 2.5%.
This way user’s security is guaranteed when making transactions online since there would be no traces left behind.
As it turns out, there’s absolutely no need to worry since the downtime was caused by necessary updates and maintenance that were to be done.
The forum has also bounced back allowing users to chat freely with others concerning various factors that affect the site.
There are reports by users that Dream Market is probably pulling an exit scam, some have complained that they are facing difficulties with login in, despite other similar marketplaces on the Tor network working quite well.
A trader raised concern that Dream Market suddenly disabled their 2FA login details in spite of selling more than 250 products, with an overall star rating of 5.
They cannot access the account anymore, and have loads of fresh orders to handle including those that had already been accepted before and only awaiting shipment.
However, what worries the dealer, even more, is that they wrote four contact forms to Dream Market but got absolutely no response from them.
The trader and his team went further to seek for help from DM’s forum page but still got nothing.
Things got worse from there after the admin unexpectedly removed their forum account, probably because they were asking too many questions about the market’s activities.
This vendor didn’t give up despite all the setbacks; he logged back in using different buyer accounts and to his surprise, the original vendor account was still functional.
These outcomes have made the traders believe that Dream Market is trying to scam them, plus very soon the site may pull an exit scam on users.
Another account holder reiterated that he had been trying to get back online for a while, but Dream Market was not operational during that entire time.
Earlier on, clicking on messages or marketplace posts also proved futile since this took him to a blank page, where he was left with no other option but restarting the Tor browser again, hence, leading him to the same errors once more.
Initially, he thought this problem was only tied to Tor, but as it turns out, that is not the case since other darknet marketplaces have not been affected at all.
Nevertheless, other users urged them not to generalize the situation by claiming that Dream Market is trying an exit scam.
Instead, saying they need to get the facts right before making such statements.
A user has asked for proof and requested for pictures of messages from admin saying that they were not going to let him in.
Otherwise, everything else can only be regarded as hearsay.
Given these facts, it’s probable that the complainant’s account got hacked by somebody else, likely an individual working closely with them.
In his defense, the victim said that even after signing to prove who they really were as traders, things still did not work out.
He confirmed they only use 2FA logins on Tor marketplaces and are not used to giving “plausible excuses,” such as the online account had been taken over by somebody they work with, or other similar incidents.
The trader claims the only reason they raised alarm over this occurrence is so that their customers can know what’s going on, and reach out to them for further direction.
A dark web vendor on Dream Market has reappeared again after a short break and assured his customers that all is well; the seller apologized on Reddit for not being around and not communicating to those affected by his temporary absence. He admitted that all negative reviews posted recently by displeased buyers were completely justified; further mentioning they will receive a full refund for items bought while the dealer was away. Otherwise, they may get an extra amount in shipment if possible. This regardless of whether they decide to alter the negative comments or not.
He said that his absence was not intentional but rather due to unavoidable circumstances. Complications from an existing medical condition flared up prompting him to spend some considerable amount of time in the hospital. But even in poor health, the vendor had been thinking about his Dream Market customers whose orders were yet to be fulfilled. This condition might have resurfaced because of sheer carelessness and a previous accident.
After he had been released, he said he had gained full mental clarity to update everyone on business matters. While he expresses concern for not updating sooner, the dark web vendor stated that he doesn’t trust anyone with his Dream Market account and hence the wait. He hopes clients would be more understanding of the struggles and give him time to get his act back together. The vendor said he doesn’t always break promises and when an order is placed everything will be done to ensure clients’ needs are fulfilled. Further, describing himself as a firm believer of honest business practices, also that customers should be rest assured he’s on Dream Market to stay.
Nevertheless, there are some people who’ve continued showing him continuous support despite the temporary absence, for such he’s grateful, including all those other loyal and courteous customers who understand his predicament. He said they are the reason why he will always try his best to continue trading on Dream Market for as long as possible. This appreciation extends to all future customers who may be interested in buying from him as well. Despite the comeback, he mentioned that he still needs to recover fully, though priority now is on those who didn’t receive their packages. They will be attended to immediately, plus listings and shop will also open soon, so customers don’t need to worry about placing orders.
Some people weren’t satisfied by his explanation, rather terming him a bad dealer by not having another trusted party handle his Dream Market dealings while away. Furthermore, though the trader admits that all negative reviews are welcome, he still hasn’t given steps on how such a situation can be averted again in the future. Incentives such as free handouts can help a lot in calming nerves, particularly for those who may feel aggrieved by the trader disappearing with their money. They say he needs to change his methods so that customers don’t feel screwed in the short term.
A Dream Market user recently reported on Reddit that his account had been hacked by another person, who managed to seize over his wallet balance by ordering a zero listing. Following this breach, the victim was anxious and wondered what to do next considering that such a thing has never happened before.
The user wanted to know whether anyone else had passed through a similar experience, including how they resolved it if there was a solution. The dispute button didn’t work well for him because all transactions were closed and Dream Market support team was also not responding.
Consequently, others requested the victim to be a little bit more patient; expressing confidence that support will soon get back to him. Though sometimes it might take a while considering that cash was lost here. Dream Market later responded by saying that indeed the user’s account had been phished, and there was nothing the user could do to salvage the situation or get some refund from them.
While it’s impossible to argue with such a statement coming from Dream Market, the user says he’s lucky the amount stolen from him/ her wasn’t much since the money in his online wallet at that time was negligible. The user had placed a couple of coins there in the past but this time round the sum was not worth complaining about, though, if it were more the victim admits that would have left him devastated.
Despite Dream Market answering his complaints, the user still expressed dissatisfaction since he had to wait for more than 1 hour and 30minutes before getting a response. During this waiting time, the user somewhat expected not to be compensated given that his account showed a blank listing bought for $49. A clear indication of hacking. Such activities make him doubt whether he really wants to continue using Dream Market or not.
Apparently, the victim isn’t alone in this situation as another user also complained that his Dream Market account was probably also been hacked. His password is no longer working meaning they have changed it, and he can’t check anything on the profile. When the individual keyed in Dream Market address for login sake, he was immediately redirected to a DDoS protection page and requested to enter certain captcha. This has never occurred before, so the user re-entered the address twice more, but it still showed a default captcha page.
Afterward, he was taken to a login page that looked suspicious, since here the user could no longer get a similar DDoS protection/captcha page that had earlier showed up. The user also sought to know whether others who had been hacked before received a similar page on their walls, prior to the cybercriminals seizing over their accounts. He concluded by mentioning that he wished 2FA protection code had been turned on, then hacking would never have occurred in the first place. The victim longed to apply two-factor authentication on his Dream Market account but kept forgetting to look into it.
The moral of the story is don’t be stupid with your details. If you get some weird email asking to login by clicking a link or sending username and password etc. DONT. Always access the site from the safe link you always use or from this site.
Also, the support of these Darknet Markets are dealing with tens of thousands of people and in AlphaBay’s case, hundreds of thousands of people. If they don’t reply instantly, don’t freak out. Go roll a joint, chill the fuck out and give it a few hours or even a day or two before jumping to conclusions.
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