With the fall of dark market giants such as the Silk Road, AlphaBay, Hansa and Outlaw, there are ongoing speculations as to what is about to transpire for Valhalla since several users in subreddit forums are complaining that they cannot access their funds.
It is well known that one of the ways exit scams are orchestrated is by denying users of their funds due to one reason or another.
And before dark market users can even discern what is happening, the site goes down for good—resulting in losses of millions of dollars’ worth of Bitcoins.
Apart from exit scams, other ways in which darknet markets are pulled down is through hacks or seizure by authorities from different parts of the world working collaboratively.
Silk Road, AlphaBay and Hansa are all examples of the latter, since they were seized by law enforcement authorities investigating dark web markets.
The Silk Road was the first major darknet market to go down after the site admin Ross Ulbricht, also known under the alias Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR), was arrested by U.S. federal authorities.
One of the factors that led to his detention and eventual life sentence conviction was leaving his email address in one of the feedback forums for users to give him their views about his marketplace.
By being active on these forums, Ulbricht intended to draw new users by the site and by doing so, one would conclude that it would lead to more profits for him.
But when DPR left his email ID in one of the forums, the U.S. investigators who were working to capture the mastermind of the Silk Road had a trace of who might be responsible for the dark web market responsible for smuggling counterfeit items, weapons, hard drugs, stolen credit cards, etc.
And when sufficient evidence was gathered to make a case against Ulbricht, the investigators trailed his location and finally arrested Ulbricht.
During the time prior to the arrest, they monitored his activities and traced his servers while he continued raking in millions of dollars in the form of Bitcoins.
Then there is AlphaBay and Hansa, which were both seized by law enforcement earlier this year.
At first, AlphaBay went down, leaving users speculating as to what might be the real reason. Some said it was a maintenance issue whereas other believed it was an exit scam.
Rumors spread until about a week later, whenU.S. authorities cleared the air by saying what had transpired.
And in the operation, millions of dollars in Bitcoins were seized, and therefore both sellers and buyers had to accept their losses.
Although both sites are believed to have been seized simultaneously, AlphaBay was closed down first. It was all a game plan, since the main aim was to monitor traffic from AlphaBay to Hansa.
The method yielded results as a peculiar trend was noticed. Users in AlphaBay opened accounts with the same username and passwords as on Hansa and other markets to continue their illegal trade.
The surprising part is that it got to the point that registration on Hansa was closed for a brief period, and the reason was due to an influx of “refugees” from AlphaBay.
One would wonder what was going on behind the scenes during this time.
But authorities were either trying to match the identity of users in AlphaBay and Hansa before the operation resumed or they were trying to convince users that indeed Hansa was up and running and that it had only closed so that they could either change servers or expand.
After a short while, registration on Hansa was re-opened and new users opened new accounts, whereas existing users rushed to open multiple accounts on the platform fearing that registration would close again.
Of course, this provided authorities with the perfect opportunity to compare and match the accounts on AlphaBay with those on Hansa.
Seeing as how much of the speculation around the future of the Valhalla market is ongoing, it is too early to call what might happen because the trend is very random.
Perhaps the reason why users can’t access their funds is because of a maintenance issue, or perhaps law enforcement authorities are launching an ongoing investigation into the darknet site.
One user on Reddit advises people not to use Valhalla because there is a continuing crackdown. However, these reports remain unconfirmed and only time will tell.
What is for sure is that no matter what transpires in the future, it is nearly impossible to close the darknet market scene down.
The famous saying “when one door closes, another one opens” can prove this point.
Whenever a dark market is shut down by authorities, there are still other markets that will have room to grow since their major competitors will have fallen.
As of now, users need to be careful not only when using Valhalla but also in other dark web markets. With the various exits of dark markets, it is tough to tell what will happen next.
As such, some basic guidelines ought to be followed.
First, only deposit funds to the site when you need to use them. And once you are done, remove the leftover balance immediately to avoid losing your Bitcoins.
Second, since authorities might track you based on the activities you do on the dark web, employ the use of fake usernames and emails.
This step is very crucial, as one can learn from the mistakes of the Silk Road founder.
And last but not least, it’s important to always use software such as Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and MAC address changers.
These are essential tools that will help hide your identity to some degree.
There are other tips to follow, but these are the bare minimum requirements of staying unidentified on the dark web.
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