Empire Market is offline. The famous darknet crypto market has been offline for a few days now, almost 2 years after its creation. The website would have stolen over 2600 BTC, or over 30 million dollars.
The bitcoin of the users, in fact, were on the platform’s wallets and not on non-custodial or third party wallets. Empire Market, in fact, used escrow systems to lock the BTC until the sale was completed and both parties were satisfied.
The confirmation of this exit scam was not long in coming also from Dark Fail, a darknet news source considered to be authoritative in the sector.
Empire, the largest darknet cryptomarket is gone. With no explanation from its admins and no announcement from law enforcement, this looks like a devastating exit scam.
The darknet was in a golden age of trust. Expect a rough year of exit scams ahead as trust is rediscovered.
— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 25, 2020
At first, it was believed that the site was under DDoS attack, as the team itself had claimed that the website would be back online in a few days.
"Many want to see us fall but we are not going anywhere. Long live the Empire." – an update from Empire Market staff on Dread. pic.twitter.com/YVPmFpBMjs
— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) August 22, 2020
So nothing suggested an exit scam, but the long time frame leaves no doubt now.
Unfortunately, it was only in the last few hours that the team disappeared into thin air and the website is still unreachable, after two years of activity and a very solid user base.
Empire Market, an unreliable platform from the very beginning
In any case, this was an illegal platform because it allowed users to buy products or services from criminals, so it was certainly not a platform they could trust a priori.
So it’s hard to believe that the exit scam hadn’t been properly organized with a lot of hard work every day until a couple of days ago, when the team decided to pull the plug and take the 2638 BTC loot with them.
This teaches how the use of such platforms is very risky and has been demonstrated several times over time. It also teaches people not to trust centralized platforms.