AlphaBay Market was undoubtedly the biggest darknet market to have ever existed.
Its ultimate fall was terrible news to thousands if not hundreds of thousands of persons who used the market to trade goods and services over the dark web.
Due to its size, AlphaBay Market benefited the sellers, buyers and the site admins in many ways.
But in brief, the buyers had a perfect source of acquiring the illegal goods they wished to purchase, the sellers had a ready market for their products and the site admins could reap the commission generated after the sale/purchase of goods on the market.
In short, it was a win-win situation for those involved.
However, as with any darknet market, there were many users who fell victim to fraud by some vendors on the site.
Even though there are measures put in place to stay safe when navigating and transacting on darknet markets, some parties opt to ignore the rules and then end up blaming themselves for their mishaps.
Despite all this, people still appreciate the value darknet markets offer to users. And after AlphaBay Market was seized by the feds last summer, some people do miss some aspects of the hidden site.
Here, we will take a look at some of them.
Several Payment Options
By the time of its seizure, AlphaBay was the only market to have adopted four virtual currencies for payment—Bitcoin, ZCash, Monero and Ethereum. This shows that the level of innovation held by the market’s developers was unmatched if compared to other markets. AlphaBay’s team readily embraced new altcoins as to the site.
So far, only one market, Silk Road 3.1, has managed to adopt four cryptocurrencies, but not all are similar to the ones AlphaBay Market supported. The virtual currencies which were recently added by Silk Road 3.1 are Litecoin, Monero and Ethereum.
Although, one thing to note is that during the days of AlphaBay, Bitcoin Cash was not in existence as it was only brought about when Bitcoin split last August.
On the other hand, Litecoin was already gaining momentum in the crypto world at the time of AlphaBay’s reign but for some reason, the site had not yet integrated it into the payment system. However, one would be justified to speculate that if the market was still around, then they could have already added it.
Other Competitive Factors
Today, the level of competition is very high among darknet market contenders, as the newly launched Empire Market has gained attention for modeling its design and functionality after AlphaBay Market.
Perhaps this is an effective marketing strategy because when people hear about it, curiosity will drive them to try it out.
In general, other markets continue to follow in the footsteps if their predecessor by integrating other cryptocurrencies in their systems. The only difference is the rate of adoption, which may be caused by a variety of factors.
Analysis shows that one of the factors that has contributed to this is the delays on the Bitcoin network, which lead to extended transaction times, resulting in high processing fees from miners. These are the delays that pushed Silk Road 3.1 to consider adding other digital tokens.
A point to note is that a market like Dream Market, which is currently the top-rated market, added Bitcoin Cash late last year. But for some reason, Dream Market’s interface hindered some account owners from using the new option.
Reportedly, some users ended up mistakenly sending BCH to their BTC wallet because they could not locate the new BCH wallet on their homepage. As a result, they lost the funds transferred to the wrong address.
To sort out the issue, users who could not locate the option had to manually add it by typing /bchWallet at the end of the URL after logging in, and the alternative would appear.
In the case for AlphaBay, technical issues such as this were rarely witnessed. For this reason, one can question if Dream Market is up to the task of maintaining its position as the top market.
At times, one can think that Silk Road 3.1 is poised to take over and become the most significant market, but it’s up to users to decide.
Security & Quick Response from Support
During its tenure, AlphaBay Market had an efficient support system. The admins, especially one popularly known as BigMuscles, would respond to queries in a matter of minutes if not hours.
Despite this, others who used the market voiced some negative reviews about the site’s support system, mainly because a dispute would be ruled in favor of the opposite side. And this is a very common occurrence in darknet markets.
In one Reddit post, a user goes to the extent of alleging that BigMuscles is scamming him. In the post, the user said he was locked out of his account after he accidentally misentered his PIN.
When he contacted the support team, the admin asked for his mnemonic phrase in order to recover his information.
Ultimately, the poster claims BigMuscles failed to recover his information after provided his mnemonic multiple times.
But some of the responses assert that the person who penned the complaint never followed the instructions from the admin.
It’s worth noting that AlphaBay’s support team was very cautious in terms of security matters. If someone had happened to contact them about forgetting their PIN, which is used to withdraw funds, they would request them to provide a mnemonic.
If they could send it, then the admin would generate a new PIN and then give it to the customer. The user could then opt to use the same PIN or create a new one.
This same process has also been put in place by Empire Market.
Some of the other security features that were adopted by AlphaBay Market are Two Factor Authentication (2FA) and the use of encrypted keys for communication.
Wide Range of Listings
Due to its popularity at its time, AlphaBay Market attracted vendors who offered all sorts of illegal goods and services. This, in turn, attracted customers irrespective of age, gender and background, as all were interested in something different.
By doing a quick search using keywords, it would be easy to find the desired product. The searches could be based on the product description or vendor name. It is not uncommon for users to search using vendor name especially when they have been referred by another party.