If you have browsed around the darknet community, you might have heard that people were raving about the exit scams of the Empire Market.
What is Empire Market? Why is it so popular? And why did it end up as a scam exit? Here we are going to talk about in-depth topics to answer these sorts of questions. So, take your time and read until you finish.
Empire Market Overview
Those who had been familiar with the Alphabay market would feel the Empire Market like home. The Alplabay-style market also offered various cryptocurrencies as payment methods to ensure the transparency and security of every transaction conducted between the vendors, buyers, as well as market.
The Empire Market accepted Bitcoin – BTC, Litecoin – LTC, and Monero – XMR. It offered MutiSig, PGP, and 2FA features. See, these three features are what we would expect from a safe darknet market since they will give benefits for the users (both vendors and buyers). It was ranked as one of the most prominent darknet markets in the world.
Back then, the links of the site were updated every 10 minutes. All these link updates were available on the official site. Now, it does not seem that people can retrieve the active links.
There is always “EANF” or Empire Anchor Not Found. That means the crawler cannot get the links. This happens when the links are down or offline. And people have confirmed now that Empire Market is offline forever since every time we click on the official onion link, the word EANF always shows up. Refreshing the page won’t work now since the site has existed as a scam.
The current status of Empire Market now is “Exit Scammed”. We are going to update the status in the future if there’s any significant change to the site. The moment we wrote this review, our experts kept monitoring the status of the darknet websites including the latter Empire Market. As much as the other huge fans out there, we are also hoping that someone or the creators can put it online again. But for now, all we can do is just wait to see if there’s any update.
This market itself was launched back in April 2018. And since its market layout is pretty much similar to the AlphaBay, it had drawn a lot of avid fans of the latter marketplace to join with the Empire Market. That explained why the increasing number of members was too significant. Not to mention that it supported Multisig, a payment method where there is a need for signatures of at least two parties from the three parties involved to release the funds (sellers, buyers, market).
If you are not convinced to use your direct payment, you could use Multisig to ensure the safety of the transaction.
It also had 2 FA – 2 Factor Authentication where only the “real” owners could log in using their credentials. It fortifies the security of the website from any cyber attack.
Empire Market Review
It was one of the fanciest markets in the world, hands down. The first thing that you will look at this market is the perfect resemblance of its infamous Alphabay. As we know, Alphabay is arguably the king in the DarkNet industry even before the SilkRoad reigning.
It is also not exaggerating to say that Empire Market is the “clone site” of Alphabay because the appearance is highly similar although it is basically a different market. Those who have been using the latter option to look for darknet stuff online must be quick in familiarizing themselves with the user interface of the Empire Market.
The registration of the marketplace
The registration is quick and easy. There is no waiting period of any other complexity that you need to worry about to register to the site. Contrary to other “difficult” marketplace, there is no need to get invited to join with the marketplace. The new users can just leave the “invite-user” field blank and proceed with the registration.
Keep in mind that registering on the darknet site requires safe practices as OPSEC. So, you need to comprehend the term first before continuing with the registration process.
The new users will just need to enter all the required details and click on “Join Empire Market”. Then the mnemonic will be there to store. It is crucial stuff that every user needs to store in the safest place. Mnemonic is the only way to recover troublesome accounts, reset passwords, and so on.
It is important to use the pen name or fake name in the username for the sake of your privacy. Do not use anything which can lead to your real identity.
User-interface of the marketplace
As we mentioned about the layouts which adapt the Alphabay, it shouldn’t be hard to use the site for the first time. The user interface is similar to Alphabay so that you can start using the site without any hassle. It is easy to navigate the site to the fullness and find the particular products to choose from.
It also has the same orders and structure as the latter marketplace. You can easily see the familiar navigation links and the categories ready to browse around.
Ones can send messages to specific buyers, vendors, or users in the marketplace.
Then there is an “Orders” section where you can access the overall orders that you conduct in the particular marketplace.
Finding the particular listings is also easy as the categories and search buttons are strategically placed on the main menu of the market. Then below those menus, there are security bars, referral information, as well as news to keep the users updated on the latest news and information of the industry.
Just like AlphaBay, you can find the product categories in the left sidebar which covers some groups of stuff including the services, web hosting, software and spyware, and so on.
You can find your favorite stuff in the “Guides and Tutorials” categories. It had around 1400 items listed. The sub-categories come with some bizarre topics like drugs, scams, hacking, and many others. These tutorials can empower the users with a certain set of skills like drug-making, hacking, and so on.
There are also numerous items in the “Fake Things. So, if the users are interested in counterfeit item purchases, they can just go straight to the particular category to reserve their items.
The AutoShop Categories
The AutoShop was the latest category to be added by the moderators in the marketplace. This category was one of the favorites because it was a quick solution for slackers who wanted to get quick money. In these categories, sellers offer bank cards with a number of bills inside for good prices. These cards might be stolen, sniffed, or hacked.
The card auto shop is on another level.
In the auto shop, it also comes with several premium accounts of popular services like Amazon, Spotify, Netflix, and so on.
The other categories that were checked are son or daughter porn, prostitution, murder, and so on.
The Website’s security
As proclaimed by the moderators of the dark net site, they use the multi-layers of security technology. The 2FA, for instance, is to make sure that the user’s accounts won’t ever get hacked by irresponsible people.
They claimed to be committed to conduct all the activities with ample anti-scam procedures, which protect all their users against the exit scam.
The moderators are able to create replicas of the website but never the back-end database of the Alphabay.
The 6-digit PIN is set to give multi protections to the users. It is usually used by the users when conducting some executions on the site. It is set during the registration process. The PIN is important because you are going to hit it when withdrawing funds, making purchases, and others.
So, in total, there are 4 layers of security to ensure the safety of the account for the users. They are 2-FA, data recovery term or mnemonic, PIN, as well as Login Phrase. The data recovery term or mnemonic will only be shown once in the registration process. That’s why it is very important for the users to save the mnemonic code safely, where no one can retrieve it. The mnemonic code is useful for retrieving a troubled account or the recovery of the passwords. In case you forget your credentials, you can use the mnemonic code to solve the problem.
These 4 layers of security are relevant to all users: both buyers and vendors. So, for those who want to sell some stuff on the deep web, they don’t need to worry since the 4 firewalls protect their seller accounts from any ill attempts.
The Site Searchability
The search function is the core component of every darknet market because some items can be surprisingly located in different categories. Why is the internal search engine an important aspect to value the particular service? It is because there are thousands of services and products offered by hundreds of sellers.
It can be wasting time and energy to browse around each seller one by one to find the product you want. Some people have difficulties browsing through all the merchandise unless window shopping is their sole intention.
It is not practical to browse the category one by one too. So, instead of navigating the site around and making your fingers numb, it is much better to type the right keyword in the search box and get to the items directly without any hassle.
The Empire Market has amazing filters which can help the users to sort the items in no time. The filters come up with the right variables like the Review, Vendor, Lender, Type of Payment, as well as Levels. When looking for a specific item or service, one is suggested to use this feature maximally so that they can find extremely accurate results on their part.
The site also specifies the kind of currencies that they accept for the transactions. The vendor Trust Level will tell you a lot about the qualities of the services, products, and the vendors overall.
Type the words “Drugs” within the “Drugs and Chemicals” classification will show the users the list of listings that offer any kind of services and goods related to drugs.
Basically, Empire Market has two types of search functions: quick search and advanced search function.
You can easily find the quick search function on the main page after login. From there, you can just type a particular keyword to find the stuff you want to purchase online and hit the search button.
Meanwhile, the advanced search function comes with search filters that can help you narrow down the listings collection to only the results that you specify using the particular filters.
In the Product Type, the users can choose whether it is All, Digital, Physical, or Auto Dispatch. That’s a good start since it will classify all of the items that you tick.
The price range can help you to view the particular items or services that are within your budget range.
The category obviously refers to the categories that you want to choose.
If you want to purchase from a particular country, you can set the Origin Country. Select any country from the dropdown list. Or choose “Worldwide” if you don’t mind from where you obtain the goods.
“Ships to” is to select the country’s destination. The other filters that the users can use are Order By, In Stock, Payment, Verified, etc.
“Verified” is one of the most crucial filters that one needs to use because it will tell you whether the vendor that you are choosing is verified or not.
Choosing a Vendor and purchase the products or services
Not only in Empire Market, but also other dark net markets, it is important to know a trick or two to choose the right vendor to ensure that you’ll get the value of your money.
Note that you can use this method in the other markets as well to make sure that you won’t get disappointed with the stuff you purchase online.
Check the Vendor Profile. In Empire Market, each vendor has Vendor Level and Trust Level. The Vendor Level color is blue. Meanwhile, the Trust Level is green.
These two levels categories are derived from their performance qualities based on the successful transactions they made. The other variables that affect the scores are the number of positive, neutral, as well as negative feedbacks that they receive from the customers. Obviously, you will want to stick to the vendors with excellent ratings.
Besides the Trust Level and Vendor Level, you can also take a look at the About Page. Read about their policies, information, updates, and so on. If what they describe does not fit your requirements and needs, you could just skip the particular vendor and move to the other providers.
One won’t know for sure until they experience it by themselves. well, the most ideal way to test them is to purchase one of their items, which is pretty risky. But it is necessary to make sure. So, you could start purchasing small items that don’t cost a lot.
Purchasing the stuff from Empire Market is easy. When some products interest you, all you need to do is to choose them and hit the order button.
Choose the quantity and hit the Buy Now button. Then you will need to choose which payment you are going to use. Whether it is Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Monero, you can proceed with one of those. Once you add money to your wallet, you can make the purchase.
The Empire’s Exit Scam Story
The Dark Net Empire Market has gone for good. But it does not stop the darknet enthusiasts to look for the best alternatives on the deep web.
We can see the recommendations are scattered around in many platforms including the forums, web 2.0, micro-blogging sites, social media, messengers community, and so on. There are a lot of discussions about safe alternatives for the excited scammed market like Empire Market. We cannot neglect the fact that the exit scam aftermath really hit the huge fans of the market, especially for those who have moved from AlphaBay.
The renowned AlphaBay went offline back then. Dream Market was the top-notch choice but eventually went dust also.
We can say that 2019-2020 was the year of the darknet markets falling. There are hundreds of darknet markets that went down back then. And we could easily notice that the renowned darknet markets also went down including AlphaBay.
Empire Market was striving to be the most competitive darknet market on the deep web. It was not exaggerating to say that this site was the crown of the market back then. But that was up until late August 2020. The Empire Market went offline and many parties put the blame on the DDoS attack.
But then, the experts of the deep web conducted a meticulous analysis and determined that the site existed as a scam. It was alleged that the moderators of the market got away with $30 million in a total of digital cryptocurrencies including XMR and BTC.
It all began on 19 August 2020. The official site of the Empire Market appeared to be hit by the DDoS attacks. But at that time, most users wouldn’t think that the moderators tried to trick their members. They used the smokescreen to cover their ill intentions.
Let us quote what the moderators said in the Dread social medium: “Trust is earned over time. When dozens of admins were scamming in 2018 and 2019, we were the only market to stay loyal to you. This is who we are. Our character has not changed. Many want to see us fall but we are not going anywhere.”
However, the days were gone without any great updates until August 23, there was another update. The experts noticed that the bitcoins in the escrow reportedly transferred to unanimous offline wallets. Since then, many users have been pushing forward and questioning their shipment status.
Many users asked about their orders. some of them asked if they just needed to wait until the items shipped to their home. Some of them said that they had lost over $13k but they had no worries since they thought it was part of the game.
Some users were crushed because they had spent a serious amount of money to get counterfeit items and banned items. Some of them even broke their banks for weeds.
Looking at the posts from their moderators, EMpire appeared to be battling against the DDoS attacks since 2019. Many of the insiders claimed that the DDoS attacks happened from their competitors.
But here is the huge question. Empire staff claimed that they had a mirror system in place and used sophisticated anti-DDoS attack software. But no one can clarify whether it was true or not unless we had a check by ourselves on their system.
On August 27, the lead moderator of the Market “Se7en” said that Empire had been spending a lot of money to prevent the DDoS attacks. They announced that they had spent $10,000 to $15,000 to pay Gustav or Stackz420 not to attack their site. Se7en also added that the staff could not reach the market’s admins through their official Jabber accounts. Well, it was pretty obvious that they snatched millions of dollars for their own sake.
It appears that the administrators decided to steal the money from their users.