The largest Darknet marketplace, Alphabay (AB), appears to be back with the original ‘Desnake’ administrator apparently having proven to have control over the AB administrators’ PGP key. Nevertheless, the news remains questionable.
Alphabay and its history
Alphabay’s largest Darknet marketplace had been blacked out by law enforcement in mid-July 2017. Recently, however, the proof of controlling the AB administrators’ PGP key by the alleged Desnake, the original administrator, has reignited the issue, assuming that Alphabay is returning to the Darknet.
“Alphabay (AB) has allegedly returned as the original AB admin “Desnake” used a PGP key that ostensibly proves control of the admin’s handle. Many skeptics find the return questionable”.
Four years ago law enforcement had managed to stop both Alphabay and Hansa Market, infiltrating and dismantling the two platforms and also arresting the alleged “Desnake”, identified as Alexandre Cazes.
Cazes was arrested by Thai police but also found dead in his cell after his arrest in Thailand.
In August 2021, visitors using the Dread forum noticed the reappearance of “Desnake”. Reportedly, a former AB moderator called “disc0” vouched that he was the real Desnake.
AB’s alleged return and Darkowl’s report
According to a report by researchers at darkowl.com, they note that the new AB has been “unstable” since it returned, with users experiencing “frequent 503 errors, user registration issues, and login timeouts.” I2P services linked to the new AB rarely load.
Here’s what the report says:
“All of the moderators speak very formally with impeccable English and gush with unbridled passion about the need for a new concept of decentralized marketplaces, the complex tradeoffs and advantages of peer-to-peer networks, and a deep desire to establish a greater sense of community,” Darkowl’s report notes. “Desnake’s posts are particularly “wordy” with extensive lengthy posts on Dread and the market’s About and FAQ section,” the report adds”.
The in-depth findings that Darkowl uncovers further demonstrate that the new AB marketplace is moderated by three individuals nicknamed: “TheCypriot,” “tempest,” and “wxmaz”.
Alphabay and Monero (XMR)
Another relationship between the former Alphabay and the current alleged returnee on the Darknet is the use of Monero (XMR), the ultimate privacy crypto.
Born in 2014, XMR managed to explode in the crypto world because of its key feature of privacy protection, which makes it impossible to see an address’s transactions and balance.
A crypto with these features cannot escape criminals looking for anonymity. That is why on both Alphabay and the Hansa Market XMR has been the most used crypto.
At the moment, many are also considering the idea that it could be the same law enforcement agencies that are infiltrating and “reviving AB and Desnake” in order to catch “bigger fish” in the Deep Web.