Rapture, a young but up-and-coming marketplace on the dark web, has been down for over two weeks, causing jitters to the site’s customer base.
The market was created in January 2018 by a darknet vendor known as British Dragon.
Though it hasn’t been around for long, Rapture has still received numerous good reviews.
With a usual uptime of 98 percent, it is said to have features such as a trusted vendor referral system, multi-signature payment options, Bitcoin and Monero cryptocurrencies, among others.
Reports indicate the market has been offline since mid-May. For frequent users of the site, there is a growing concern that this might be another exit scam. This has resulted in lots of speculation as to why it has been down.
Reliable intel is hard to come by since the go-to forum for information on the reputation of darknet markets and vendors was recently pulled down by Reddit.
Inadequate Information Fuelling Speculation
The r/darknetmarkets subreddit was axed earlier this year after Reddit alleged the community was in violation of its policy on illegal goods and services.
Reddit strictly prohibits transactions that involve direct deals of illicit content. The subreddit was primarily a source of darknet market web addresses, preventing users from being scammed.
However, the ban of the community was not a surprise for most Redditors, since authorities like the feds have been pressuring Reddit to cough up information—including IP addresses, phone numbers, financial data and dates and time of site visits—on some of the users of the forum.
Since then, Reddit staff have been systematically banning darknet-related subreddits.
Reddit has also banned two other subreddits in addition to the main subreddits. One of those subreddits was specifically for individual darknet markets, which included r/dreammarket2 and r/RaptureMarket.
Pulling the Darknet’s Perfect Heist
Regardless of the inadequate information, if this is a real DNM exit scam, then it will not come as a surprise for frequent darknet users.
There have been plenty previous cases of exit scams. For instance, a formerly popular market called Evolution was online for just over a year before it mysteriously disappeared in one of the biggest exit scams in DNM history. Two of its administrators are believed to have taken as much as $12 million from the website’s users, after a year of collecting commissions.
In typical cases, exit scams happen when a new darknet market comes online and experiences good reviews and uptime for roughly over a year.
The site administrators, after accumulating funds in escrow from customers together with vendor bonds, suddenly vanish at times without valid reasons. It is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Some even call it the the darknet’s perfect crime since it is so lucrative.
Hope at End of the Tunnel or Just a Mirage?
It’s safe to say that if Rapture remains unavailable, DNM forum sites will remove it and categorize it as an exit scam.
This has caused jitters in the Rapture community on Reddit.
Soon after the site went down in mid-May, posters were already asking the community if they had any information on what was happening.
Some users are optimistic that the site will return soon and are alleging that it was suffering from DDoS attacks.
However, other users are not that hopeful; one user suggested that it would be wise to stick to well- established markets instead of newer ones that are unproven and untested.
However, with the recent fall of Hansa and AlphaBay, newer darknet markets may continue to grow in popularity, making the risk of an exit scam much higher.
In conclusion, without valid reasons, an exit scam will remain the main speculation as to why the Rapture Market is unavailable at this time.