Dark Web Marketplace Evolution is Profiting From Silk Road 2’s Shutdown

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by Polina Chernykh · 3 min read
Dark Web Marketplace Evolution is Profiting From Silk Road 2’s Shutdown
Since the FBI’s and Europol’s Operation Onymous seized dozens of Dark Web sites including the Silk Road 2, the website Evolution has more than tripled its rate of growth in new product listings. Photo: BitCoin Opp/Flickr

New Dark Web’s drug market, called Evolution, allows customers to buy stolen credit card numbers and weapons.

After the recent shutdown of several Dark Web sites by Europol and FBI’s Operation Onymous, including Silk Road 2, a new website named Evolution is profiting from the closures.

According to the Digital Citizens Alliance, Evolution has tripled the growth rate of its product offerings. Meantime, the drug listings increased by 50% since September, reports Wired.

The other products sold at the website include counterfeit documents, stolen credit card numbers and weapons.

Dan Palumbo, Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) research director, said: “Evolution is the anti-Silk Road. Rather than being centered around a libertarian ideal, it’s just a business.”

Evolution is currently the largest black market on the Dark Web. The site offers in total about 22,000 products, which is more if compared to Silk Road.

Mr. Palumbo also stated: “Evolution is the new hot commodity. Clearly they’re benefiting from the Silk Road 2 shutdown.”

Before Operation Onymous, Evolution was adding about 85 new product listings per day. Since the closure of drug markets, the website has been adding approximately 280 products daily.

Evolution also features multi-signature transactions that are created to prevent seizure of escrow funds and scams by law enforcement. In addition, Evolution has had faster page load times in comparison with its main competitors.

The website has been online about 97% of the time. In comparison, Agora and Silk Road 2 accounted for 83% and 93% of the online time, respectively.

Still, it is unknown how such markets as Agora and Evolution survived after Operation Onymous. Some in the security sector suggest the websites that are beyond the western law enforcement reach and operated in such countries as China and Russia could avoid the attack.

It is interesting that FBI seized one site named Evolution, but it appeared to be a clone created to trick users into sending bitcoins. According to the report prepared by security researcher Nik Cubrilovic, about third of the sites were scam or clone websites.

Evolution’s developer is a mysterious person also known as Verto, who previously managed the Tor Carding Forum, a credit card fraud website.

According to the Digital Citizens Alliance, the overall Dark Web market has significantly decreased, following Operation Onymous, with the number of products listings fell to 44,000 from 65,500 listings in August.

According to a story, published by Yahoo news in August, more Americans who need medications that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, purchase the necessary drugs on the Dark Net.

Despite the warnings from doctors, people are heading to the Dark Net to buy therapeutic drugs that are not available in the US. The approval of certain drugs may take years, what is too long for patients whose life is measured in months.

“The growth of purchasing psychoactive drugs online in recent years reflects the growth of ecommerce more generally,” said Winstock to The Guardian, whose survey is the world’s largest inquiry into drug-user habits. “Convenience, product choice, price and user ratings make buying drugs online attractive to some users.”

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Polina Chernykh

Polina is an undergraduate student at Belarusian State Economic University (BSEU) where she is studying at the faculty of International Business Communication for a degree specializing in Intercultural Communication. In her spare time she enjoys drawing, music and travelling.

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