A PGP-signed message posted on the Dread forum last Friday by Versus admin ‘William Gibson’ states that the darknet market, in operation since 2019, has closed it doors to new users and is now accessible to pre-existing buyers and vendors only. According to the admin, the market has been hit with a barrage of problems in recent months that has led to its degraded performance and an inability for its support team to keep up.
Versus is currently the second biggest darknet market, eclipsed only by AlphaBay in terms of popularity. A series of shutdowns of several bigger markets in late 2021 and early 2022 has left buyers and sellers scrambling for a new home; many of which have found Versus over the last few months. According to admin ‘William Gibson’, his market’s newfound popularity has also attracted unwanted attention from temperamental newbies and DDOS-attacking competitors alike.
Excerpts from the Dread post explain the admin’s decision:
“Due to the huge influx of user, the even bigger influx of complete retards and the therefor inevitable decline of our support quality in the recent month we decided to close our registration and convert the market into a private community to keep our quality standards up and idiots out…
We always wanted to provide a high-quality platform for the community and that is where we are heading again. We prefer quality over quantity. While the recent influx is nice for our wallets, we don’t want to become the next Empire-esque shitmarket.” – William Gibson, Versus admin
The admin then went on to explain that while new buyers were currently “out of luck,” vendors would be given invite codes to give to buyers they are in contact with outside of Versus.
While relieved that Versus was not closing shop completely, several market users complained in the post thread that they were greeted with a blank screen when trying to load the market – a likely side effect from ongoing DDOS attacks which have plagued it in recent weeks.
“Damn. Sad news cause I’m new and never made an account yet but been following this subdread for lil bit,” wrote one Dread member under the admin’s post, echoing a sentiment shared by others on the forum.
“…They’ve got a lot on their plate and dealing with noobs generating tons of support tickets is adversely affecting their ability to properly manage the market,” observed another forum member. “But, as a side effect of having less support to deal with they may free up time to work on the DDOS issues and potentially mitigate it better than they are now,” they added.
Currently displayed on Versus upon login is a warning for users to change their passwords immediately. The market claims to have received a message from “the group behind the dark.fail and darknetlive ‘hack’” which states that the group has “collected 1000s of your users logins” through phishing links and that they plan to leak this information unless “some kind of arrangement” is made.
Versus, which supports Bitcoin and Monero as payment options, hosts close to 30,000 listings at present, which represents a growth of 250% since January of this year.