Attacks on Silk Road 2.0 contributed to the emergence of a new leader
A new leading marketplace called “Agora” has risen on the Darknet, an online place that cannot be accessed through conventional means, recording more product listings than any of its competitors.The total number of products for sale on Agora is 16,137 and the largest chunk of them (12,053) are drugs, according to information from Digital Citizens Alliance, a non-profit organization bent on Internet safety.
The Darknet is described as a hidden online place that is ruled by anonymity and where criminals and offenders of different types exchange illegal content, arms and drug dealers and pedophile rings being the usual visitors.
It can be accessed through TOR (The Onion Router) anonymity network, which is generally used by individuals seeking freedom from censure.
Digital Citizens Alliance keeps track of the underground activity on the dark alleys of the web and put together a top of the underground markets running business anonymously.
The toughest competition to Agora is Silk Road 2.0, a variant of the original that was taken down last year by the FBI. It has 15,925 products for sale, 12,350 of them being drugs.
The markets fight for their customers and often conduct DDoS attacks on the competition. Silk Road 2.0 suffered some serious disadvantage because of such incidents and was also hit by the Bitcoin hack that occurred in February this year, causing a 10% decrease in the number of listings, according to the Alliance.
The hack seems to have caused a loss of $2.7 / €2 million in customers’ Bitcoins to the dirty business, since the owner repaid their clients.
It appears that this had a positive impact on two competitors, Agora and Evolution Marketplace, which recorded a massive increase in popularity.
Digital Citizens Alliance provided a report with the activity of the dark markets, which shows that while Agora is the largest place for illicit goods, Silk Road is the main provider of drugs.
The number of markets activating on the Darknet has increased since a report published in April this year, reaching a total of 19, compared to 11 earlier in the year.
“There are eight new markets included in the chart(not including Andromeda) bringing the total from 11 in our original report to 19 markets today. Two are worth keeping an eye on as they have experience significant growth very early on. They are Cloud 9 and Hydra Marketplace,” the Alliance informs.
The amount of product listings since January 29, 2014, has increased from 32,029 entries to 65,595 on August 22.