One of the Dark Web’s biggest illegal marketplaces has gone offline, sparking fears that the owners have pulled an exit scam.
AlphaBay facilitates the sale of such goods as drugs and guns, and has been offline since midnight on Tuesday, as reported by The Verge.
At this point, there’s still a chance the site is down for maintenance, which is often the case, but some are speculating the market has disappeared permanently.
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There’s been no word from the site admins at this point, with some pointing to large recent bitcoin withdrawals from the site’s accounts as evidence of foul play.
One block chain record reveals 1,479.03904709 in Bitcoins (roughly $3.8 million) were withdrawn in one transaction from several smaller accounts.
Reddit and Twitter users have subsequently speculated the site admins could have stolen user funds and shut the site down.
However, this Reddit thread appears to indicate the site will return, and that the servers have been down for maintenance.
That said, such scams are common on the Dark Web, with Outlaw market closing down in May due to what the admins claimed was a hacking attempt.
However, the site’s closure came as bitcoin prices surged, again leading to speculation the admins had stolen user funds and shut up shop.
AlphaBay was dubbed the new Silk Road, following the closure of what was previously the most popular illegal market on the Dark Web.
It goes without saying all the site’s mentioned here are illegal, operating on the Dark Web illicitly.
Let us know what you think of the developments in the comments.