Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of interviews Dark Web News will be featuring in the coming months. We kicked off the series a few weeks ago in a Q&A with Empire Market.
With the fall of Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP), many darknet users moved to Hydra Market, which is the leading Russian DNM at the moment. However, both vendors and customers seek an alternative, due to high rent shop rates, price increases and lower-quality services.
At the same time, users are simply unaware of Hydra’s competitors, that is why Dark Web News decided to interview the admin of Darkcon (http://darkconbp235ybwn.onion) to let people know about this darknet forum.
DWN: When was Darkcon established?
Darkcon Admin: In August 2017. Right after RAMP’s fall. However, our team had been working for a long time before that.
DWN: How did you come up with an idea to create the forum?
Admin: We ran darkweb marketplace Solaris (http://slrsmrklzc6xnokp.onion/). After RAMP was closed, one of its moderators Existenzia started the forum RAMP2. We contacted him with an offer to make Solaris an official forum’s marketplace. Existenzia agreed, but later on we found out that many reputable vendors had bad relation to ex RAMP moderator, that is why we had to exclude Existenzia from the project and bought back his share. Having got the money (a very considerable sum), Existenzia vanished and RAMP2 itself went offline. As a result, we ended up with establishing our own forum.
DWN: What does Darkcon mean?
Admin: It is Darknet Conference.
DWN: How many staff members do you have?
Admin: I will not disclose the exact number of permanent workers due to security reasons. Sometimes we hire specialists for temporary work (programmers, designers and PR managers).
DWN: Why do you call yourself a RAMP successor?
Admin: After RAMP got closed, we were one of the first who made attempts to hold its community. Most of reputable RAMP vendors registered on our forum and well-known dealer Zanzi is a part of the website’s administration.
DWN: Which difficulties have you encountered when administering the forum?
Admin: Our main competitor Hydra caused many troubles by implementing unfair methods, such as DDoS attacks. The forum’s .onion domains were experiencing devastating attacks, which ended just recently.
DWN: Which features distinct Darkcon from other darknet forums?
Admin: Users say that Darkcon has an atmosphere of good old RAMP. Moreover, our staff are fairly adequate.
DWN: Which is the forum’s role for Russian dark web, as you see it?
Admin: We provide a free platform for communication, a place where people, who are interested in darknet, can meet each other, buy or sell information or service. Russian darknet is not as highly developed as the Western one, there are not many marketplaces. The largest DNMs are connected with “salts” and “smoking mixes” trade (different RC brand names).
We, on the contrary, are always against low-quality drugs and try to draw people’s attention to conscious and safe use of psychoactive compounds. In addition, we help Tor project by running exit nodes!
DWN: Which affiliate projects do you have?
Admin: We created our own wiki – Darkach, which contains a list of .onion links and encyclopedia of psychoactive compounds. In fact, it is the biggest encyclopedia about psychoactive substances in the Russian language, the articles were translated from PsychonautWiki. Moreover, we opened EOS (http://eosdawn6knv2mno3.onion/) (a Russian analogue of GRAM), where offers from all Russian DNMs, including our competitors, are listed.
DWN: What are your future plans for the forum?
Admin: Nowadays, our priority goal is to provide information on psychoactive compounds. Also, we added a new feature to affiliate marketplace Solaris – from now on vendors got an option to sell goods on Telegram messenger, because it is widely used in Russia. We are considering adding GRAM as a payment method on our marketplaces, because this cryptocurrency seems to be promising.
DWN: Do you take part in darknet wars?
Admin: No, our principled stand is to focus on addressing users’ interests, instead of wasting resources on competitors’ suppression. DDoS attacks harm darkweb, especially Russian weakly developed segment.
DWN: Do you map out to work internationally?
Admin: For now, we do not have such plans. At the present stage, we aim at establishing ourselves on Commonwealth of Independent States market, and only after it, we shall review new possibilities.
DWN: Let me thank you for answers on behalf of our readers and wish good luck with your business!
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