Bitcoin is having a rough and turbulent 2015. The year started with a big crash: Bitcoin lost almost 30% of its value in a few days. Nevertheless, Bitcoin exchanges managed to raise pretty much money: Coinbase closed a $75 million round of funding; recently, a stealth startup called 21 has raised $116 million. Despite all the positive moments, the price started plummeting again.
The reason is a huge scam. Evolution, a marketplace for illicit goods reachable only through the Tor network, became a bigger version of the Silk Road. The above-mentioned market has functioned for about a year on an escrow system.
Using the site, buyers and sellers were able to consummate sales of illegal goods. It’s obvious that the market’s administrators had direct access to a tempting amount of the currency that can’t be traced.
Not so much time ago, the website went offline without warning. Moreover, according to the site’s public relations manager NSWGreat’s Reddit post, the two admins — Verto and Kimble — have scammed the marketplace’s large customer base making off with the customers’ bitcoins:
“I have admin access to see parts of the back end, the admins are preparing to exit scam with all the funds. Not a single withdrawal has gone through in almost a week. Automatic withdrawals has been disabled which is only doing on rare occasions.
I am so sorry, but Verto and Kimble have fucked us all. I have over $20,000 in escrow myself from sales. I can’t fucking believe it, absolute scum. I am giving this warning to you all as soon as I possibly could of. Confronted Kimble and Verto about it, they confirmed it and they’re doing it right now.”
Later NSWGreat apologized and added that it wasn’t maintenance and he couldn’t help anybody:
“Evolution can officially be put on the Wall of Shame.”
Still, it’s hard to speak precisely about the amount of bitcoin Verto and Kimble have stolen. Krebs, the security researcher, says that it’s more than $12 million.
The above-mentioned research service interviewed “an occasional buyer”, so-called Evo aficionado, who said that we had to expect the apparent exit scam: Kimble and Verto created and directed the Tor Carding Forum, a now-defunct site that specialized in credit card fraud.
Krebs also states that the scam under discussion could influence the community beyond the Deep Web users. The fact that the price of bitcoin is decreasing can be seen as a result of the disappearance. The closure of other similar markets made the same impact.