In late March, Dream Market made the sudden announcement that it will be shutting down April 30 and transferring its services to new management. At the same time, the DEA announced a massive drug bust, leading to the arrest of 61 individuals allegedly involved in opioid trafficking over the dark web.
Update: Read our coverage of the DEA’s Operation SaboTor here.
The news sent the darknet community scrambling for answers. Dark Web News will be reporting this story in real time as news develops. Keep yourself updated with our live blog below:
UPDATES: Friday, March 29
After Dream Market’s announcement earlier this week, other top markets have seen a mass influx of new registrants.
Wall Street Market has been experiencing speed and connection issues, according to several comments on the market’s Dread page. The community manager advised users to be patient as the team expands the system’s capacity.
Meanwhile, Majestic Garden has closed registration for the moment, and The Hub is still offline.It appears that the same user who launched DOS attacks on Dream Market is also targeting other top markets, indicates a post by Dread’s founder, HugBunter.Empire Market also reported that they had been the target of DOS issues earlier this month.d/DarkNetMarkets moderator u/wombat2combat provided an overview of the current situation and advised users to keep their comments in the parent post, rather than elsewhere in the page.
Speculation about a law enforcement takeover is immediately on everyone’s mind, with most of the theories pointing to this potential outcome.
There’s also a little chatter that an unknown party is attempting a dust attack in order to deanonymize crypto addresses. A post on Dread by u/CryptoBets explains their observations:
One sentiment has been repeated by dozens of posters everywhere—users need to be wary of scammers and phishers during this transition.
UPDATE: Soon after Dark Web News reported on Dream Market’s service changes on Wednesday, an official statement was released by one of the market’s moderators. In a post on Dread, the mod explained that the site had been experiencing DDoS attacks for the past seven weeks from a user who demanded $400,000 in payment, which the market rejected to fulfill. After attempting to fix the issue on their own, Dream Market staff came to the conclusion that the attacks were beyond their control. This, according to the moderator, was the team’s justification for changing the market’s management.
The moderator went on to leave more details to help customers smoothly complete the transition. Read the full post below:
Dream Market’s home page is currently alerting users that the marketplace will be shutting down on April 30, 2019, and transferring its services to a partner using the onion address https://weroidjkazxqds2l.onion which is currently offline.
Yesterday, a press release by the DEA announced that officers from the Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement (J-CODE) arrested 61 individuals involved in opioid trafficking over the darknet.
Though there are no official statements, some are linking the arrest and other operations by LE to the market.
The first one, Operation Disarray yielded success and led to the arrest of individuals in multiple states.
Apparently, many users ended up registering accounts on sites such as Hansa to the extent that registration was closed down and then reopened after a week-long hiatus.
The move was formulated by security personnel to monitor the patterns of market users.
Fortunately for them, the operation is to date yielding results with numerous arrests occurring, as was revealed by Nan van de Coevering, the Dutch police officer in charge of the dark web division.
Users within the darknet community now think that what is going on with Dream may be a situation similar to what transpired in 2017.
However, according to comments on darknet-related forums, it seems as though authorities have taken over the market and are buying time to carry out more arrests.
If this is not the case, then possible options could include the admins of Dream just upgrading the security of their servers and transferring their services to a partner company, as claimed in the post.
In another post, dated March 10, another user claims that the market has been taken over by LE using Denial of Service (DoS) attacks.
There are also a couple of other tweets and comments on Reddit suggesting that the market has been taken over.
Others have opted to remain neutral and let time tell. One such person is Eileen Ormsby author of The Darkest Web. In her comment, she says she is interested to know how things will turn out.
Current Situation on Dream Market
As of now, not all market URLs are working. Either there is a ‘Problem loading page’ or ‘Server not found.’ (Screenshots below)Furthermore, for the links that are working, there appears to be a problem with the servers since loading times have increased substantially and not all of the icons work.
In short, not all features in the market are functioning and one Reddit user had something to say about it.
It is not the first time that the market has hit the news and raised eyebrows. In 2017, Dream users lost their Bitcoins amid outages.
Then a month later, Dream was among the top sites to go offline as a result of a DDoS attack which sent users into speculation that it had been taken over by law enforcement, hacked or pulled an exit scam.
The markets were back online after about one month. Of course, user funds were lost in this case as was perhaps to be expected.
In another instance, just as darknet markets were integrating multiple cryptocurrencies into their systems, users had to manually set up the option of BCH and Monero because they were not visible.
The result is that those who wanted to make BCH deposits ended up losing their BCH by sending them to their BTC wallet.
These are just a few of the instances where Dream market users have been affected.
What if Dream Market is Indeed Down as a Result of a Seizure?
If indeed the market has been taken down then we expect to hear a series of arrests, court cases and prosecution of the masterminds.
This would be in line with some of what we predicted could happen this year.
As was the case with Gal Vallerius, also known as OxyMonster on the forum and arrested for links to the market and other illegal activities, we expect those involved with the market to experience similar outcomes.
As of now, we cannot say much more with regard to the Dream Market. But, we will keep you up to date as events unfold.
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