The Empire Market’s dark web drug heaven has mysteriously disappeared

The Empire Market’s dark web drug heaven has mysteriously disappeared

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Empire Market, one of the largest black web marketplaces, has been offline for three days. It's unclear what happened to the site administrator, whose identity remains unknown.

According to cybersecurity experts interviewed by Bloomberg, there are usually two outcomes for a market like Empire Market. Either the admin was arrested, or they stole user savings.

Empire Market is popular for drug deals. It also offers fake documents, like passports, and malware. After other sites, such as Silk Road and AlphaBay, closed down, Empire Market was the most trafficked black web marketplace, Bloomberg reported.

The goods on the Empire Market are exchanged for cryptocurrency. To operate in a market like this, anyone who wants to sell has to make a deposit. This money is deposited in escrow so that the site administrator can control it. That allows them to close the site and walk away with the money. A security expert interviewed by Bloomberg said that the amount held in escrow by Empire Market is difficult to estimate, but is at least “single-digit millions.”

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At least one moderator at Empire Market was worried that the administrators had taken over the funds. “I am crushed and ashamed by my admin’s apparent decision to disappear with your funds,” wrote the moderator, according to Bloomberg. “It’s hard to grasp that this is really happening. I am in shock.” Users say they can no longer access their accounts.

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