A major Dark Web marketplace where people can buy illegal goods, such as drugs and guns, has gone offline without explanation.
AlphaBay, which has been dubbed “the new ”, went down earlier today.
While this isn’t completely unusual – the market goes offline for maintenance sometimes – users have started speculating that the downtime could be linked to huge Bitcoin transactions that have reportedly been made from AlphaBay’s accounts.
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The withdrawals total 1,479.03904709 Bitcoin (£2.94 million), reports the , which adds that they were made from “an array” of smaller accounts.
Some Reddit and Twitter users are claiming that AlphaBay’s admins may have shut the market down, in order to steal from its users.
As of yet, nothing is confirmed, and the timing of the two incidents may be purely coincidental.
Other users are instead calling for calm and patience.
“Now I’ll admit I don’t know for sure what’s going on, and I am a bit nervous myself because if this is the end then I’ve lost a couple hundred dollars myself but think about it last year alphabay went down for about 4 days,” reads a by Redditor glooniemcboon.
“Everyone was saying for sure that this was it, but it wasnt [sic]. It took the alphabay moderators days to update people on what was going on too, they’re known to do this. Also about that blockchain transaction.. 44 bitcoins rounds off to about 4 million US. [I don’t know] about you but that doesn’t sound like nearly enough money.”
A separate by SarahLKJSGDHF reads: “Yes, [the Bitcoin transaction is] large, and yes, it looks suspicious. But until someone can actually confirm that it’s linked to AB, it’s really just that – a large bitcoin transaction. The timing, admittedly, does fit.”
It continues: “People have always screamed exit scam in the past, and they’ve always been wrong. And I really hope this turns out the same.”
Dark Web marketplace exit schemes aren’t entirely uncommon.
Evolution, another major drug market, closed down in 2015, with its operators making off with $12 million worth of users’ Bitcoin.