It appears that AlphaBay, once one of the worlds biggest darknet markets, is now back in operation, following an announcement by one of the market’s former admins.
On Sunday, a message posted to the popular darknet forum Dread contained a PGP-signed message from DeSnake, a previous AlphaBay admin, which outlined plans for the continued operation of the once-deceased market.
The message, also pasted in full on the clearnet by DeSnake, is lengthy and provides the framework for a new model of darknet market that attempts to incorporate some ambitious elements to help protect the safety of its users and their funds.
“I know all of you lost millions to seizure from Law Enforcement,” writes DeSnake. “This time around I have created a very well tested system called AlphaGuard which ensures even if seizures happen on all servers, users will be able to withdraw their funds, settle disputes and leave without a cent lost.”
The message also covers guidelines for the market’s new administration, community functions, the setup of its forum, rules, and a thorough explanation of why DeSnake decided to return.
Although the message could not be independently verified using standard PGP tools, the admin of the Dread forum, Paris, had the following to say about the recent re-emergence of DeSnake:
“To reduce any-kind of FUD that comes from this announcement. This user did verify his identity and provide proof that he was the tech staff at the original AlphaBay. It’s legitimate. I’m not saying he isn’t compromised; but if what he offers is true, at least some people will want to know about it.”
Another former admin of AlphaBay, disc0, chimed in shortly thereafter, confirming that he had also been in contact with DeSnake, who mentioned “things that only he knew as a staff member of AlphaBay.” Both Paris and disc0 said they cryptographically confirmed DeSnake’s presence using the PGP keys he provided.
Accordingly, AlphaBay was given a market page of its own on Dread, and DeSnake has been promoted to an admin position. The side of the page gives the following description of what AlphaBay is to be in its second life:
“Legendary AlphaBay Market (est. 2014) has re-opened.
Almost same administration as in 2014-2017 period which means you will find again AlphaBay runs with mature management, unparalleled security, 24/7 professional & well-trained Staff and of course unique vision for the future not only for itself but for the darknet market scene too.”
At its height, AlphaBay handled approximately 10-fold the sales of original darknet market, Silk Road. The market was taken offline in July 2017, as part of a multinational law enforcement effort. The market’s founder, Alexander Cazes, committed suicide in a Thai jail cell while waiting extradition to the United States on charges of drug laundering.
The “new” AlphaBay is also hosted on I2P, a hidden services network similar to Tor.
Some of the main differences between the new market and old are:
- The new market is Monero-only.
- No fentanyl or related products.
- No activity related to the countries of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan.
- No ransomware-related activity.
The revamped AlphaBay market was still offline as of the publishing of this article.
Alpahabay Tor link- http://alphabay522szl32u4ci5e3iokdsyth56ei7rwngr2wm7i5jo54j2eid.onion
Alphabay i2p link- http://tnaefzkcnhryeusi7hdpqujqiqmnbtah3dmjcg3gvezohunjuxbq.b32.i2p