For a period of about a month, darknet markets have experienced a significant shutdown following a string of DDoS attacks.
This has subsequently raised many questions about the future of the platforms.
The dark web has gained a dubious reputation as a network that facilitates the purchase of goods and services which either are rare to acquire in conventional marketplaces or are merely illegal.
In the latest incidents, a number of the most popular darknet markets like Dream have been victims of a prolonged downtime because of aggressive and sustained DDoS attacks.
Although these markets have since resumed online operations after the shutdown, some of these affected sites are somewhat inactive or unusable because of the extended Bitcoin transaction times.
Many darknet markets only allow cryptocurrency payments, and Bitcoin is among the most preferred options accepted. Nonetheless, since this interruption, many users have not been able to purchase services or goods since their transactions don’t seem to clear.
In the latest review, the overall number of pending transactions in the main darknet markets hit a remarkable 150,000 and has now stretched to 160,000.
Specifically, many users have raised their complaints concerning transactions in Dream, which they claim remained unconfirmed surprisingly for periods of even up to five hours.
In the last few days alone, these claims seem to have increased significantly.
For many patrons in the dark web, their preference for this platform is driven by its ability to guarantee the fast delivery of services and goods, and as such, they never have problems paying for more rapid services.
These users have become used to high transaction fees, some even extending to $10 with every transaction. Nonetheless, even with the high costs, transactions have in recent times unfortunately turned remarkably sluggish.
Users are becoming frustrated that they’re not receiving the services their fees are paying for, with many users discussing ways darknet markets can find an alternative solution to Bitcoin.
Issues on Dream Market
Dream Market has been particularly targeted in the series of recent DDoS attacks.
As opposed to typical darknet markets that rarely survive a three-month period after their launch, Dream Market has amazingly been in existence since its founding in 2013. It now has a solid reputation and sizeable clientele.
This marketplace allows the use of Bitcoin as a payment method, which can have its setbacks for the overall operation of the site. As such, Dream Market is susceptible to various issues associated with use of the cryptocurrency, like network congestion.
Darknet markets have a historical preference for using Bitcoin as their standard payment method. Its supposed added privacy inspired the implementation of cryptocurrency transactions by a majority of darknet markets.
But with the ever-rising popularity of Bitcoin outside of the dark web, as it begins to make its way toward mainstream acceptance, the payment systems within darknet markets are growing increasingly congested.
However, other alternative coins (known as “altcoins”) have emerged to offer darknet markets a more cost-efficient and quicker solution.
Although Bitcoin is the sole cryptocurrency payment method that Dream accepts, its competitors have subsequently incorporated several options for payment aside from Bitcoin. T.chka (Point) Market, for instance, has officially begun to receive Ethereum payments.
Additionally, Monero experienced substantial growth in the last few days as an altcoin option.
Even with its supposed growth, it remains to be seen whether this increase has been inspired by the acceptance of altcoin cryptocurrency payments across the dark web markets.
DDoS Attacks Cripple Normal Operations
To give some recent context to the situation, various darknet markets have over the last few months been under severe and continued strain due to DDoS attacks.
These attacks have now become a regular occurrence on the dark web.
They are implemented with ease on many of the darknet markets, even when such sites have put in place restrictive measures to protect them against DDoS attacks.
However, with the recent cases, there seems to be a general increase in the longevity and severity of these attacks.
After the collapse of several reputable sites such as Hansa and AlphaBay, there has been a general cloud of fear in the darknet market community, which is now apparently visible on various forums including Reddit.
What’s more, the recent increase in DDoS attacks has not done any good to the darknet market industry, with numerous regular users now seeking to find other alternative options.
Many of these users have now turned to visiting dedicated vendor shops with others even making use of peer-to-peer possibilities, both of which eradicate the likelihood of a central failure.
Nonetheless, even with the future looking uncertain for some darknet markets like Dream, the crisis seems to have opened a way for the emergence of new alternative markets with the likes of OpenBazaar taking full advantage.