Comparison of darknet markets

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A darknet market (also known as a DNM) is a website operating in a darknet (e.g., Freenet, I2P, TOR) through which goods and services (typically drugs) are traded. The legal status of the traded goods depends varies from country to country. The purpose of this comparison is to provide an overview of the constantly changing phenomenon of darknet markets. The comparison in durability, success, and security should enable people to evaluate markets and make independent decisions before using them.

The "Silk Road" (founded 2011-01-31) was the first known darknet market. With the combination of TOR, Bitcoin and PGP it established the central market scheme.

According to their major features and design, at least five archetypes of marketplaces can be distinguished.

  1. Forum Markets. These are basically forums where vendors present their products, customers post feedback and have discussions. These markets neither have an online shopping interface nor a reputation or escrow system. Trusted members of the community may act as escrow agents.
  2. Centralized Markets. The original "Silkroad" was the first of this kind. Buyers and vendors have their bitcoins in an online wallet which is controlled by the markets admin and therefore rely totally on the good will of the markets admins. Several big scams have happened in the past in which millions of dollars (in bitcoin) were stolen.
  3. Multi-Signature Markets. In this type of market, funds will be deposited in a multi-signature wallet. At least three parties (usually: buyer, vendor, market admin) have the control over these wallets. Two of them have to agree to release the funds. The most elaborate marketplace of this kind was "The Marketplace". Second generation marketplaces have yet to gain serious market share.
  4. Decentralized Markets. There are some projects which are currently developing software to host drug marketplaces in a distributed manner. As of 2017, they have yet to be adopted by the darknet market community.
  5. Beside that some vendors maintain their own single vendor web shop. These won’t be listed here because they are too numerous and there is no way of protecting against scams. Some vendor shops are listed here: .

All markets are hosted either as Tor Hidden Services (Onion Sites), i2p sites (eepsites) or another kind of p2p or darknet. Therefore they can not be accessed with a normal web browser.

Centralized markets


All these markets have a certain concept in common. There is a staff team which is maintaining a website as an onion or eepsite in TOR or I2P. They offer all the features to vendors and buyers. They take some % of every transaction as commission for their own profit and often take a bond of vendors to prevent scammers off signing up. Their definite trait is that the admin has the absolute power over the users funds.

Name, Adress, Forum, Subdread Date of Opening # of listings Registration 2-Factor-Authentification Java Script PGP Incidents Cryptocoins
2021-08-10 ? Open Yes No Yes Yes[1] XMR
Dark0de Reborn / Darkode Reborn
2020-05-26 ? Open Yes No Yes No BTC, XMR


Criterion Explanation
2-Factor-Authentification With 2-factor authentification, one needs to decrypt with a private PGP key. This feature avoids successful phishing of one's name and password.
Java Script Some people consider Javascript a security risk. Some sites force you to turn it off before entering their site.
PGP Is the use of PGP encryption obligatory in private messages? It typically is not, but writing unencrypted messages may expose personal details to the market admins and law enforcement agencies.
Incidents Bitcoins disappeared? Team members busted? Page hacked? Did anything happen what undermines the credibility and professionalism of the people who run the marketplace?

Multi-signature markets

Name, Adress, Forum, Subdread Date of Opening # of listings Registration 2-Factor-Authentification Java Script PGP Security Incidents Cryptocoins
The Versus Project
2019-11-02 ? Open Yes No ? Yes BTC, XMR

Forum markets


These websites are based on ordinary forum software. There is no cart, wallet or escrow provided. Transactions usually happen directly between vendor and customer.

Name, Address Date of Opening Registration Java Script Incidents Notes
2005-??-?? Paid Only Yes Yes
(They were government supporter hacker team before 2015)
Turkish Underground Forum

Online marketplace software

Further reading

External links