Darknet marketplace usage guide

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This guide is provided for informational and educational purposes only. We do not encourage you to break the law and cannot claim any responsibility for your actions.

This is a basic darknet marketplace usage tutorial for browsing and purchasing legal items on the darknet. While this tutorial does make considerations and recommendations for your safety and security, that is not its main focus. This is not a guide for those in need of a high level of security.


Step 1. Download the Tor Browser

Attention niels epting.svg Using a Windows or Mac operating system to access the darknet may compromise your privacy and security. It is recommended, but not required, to use a Linux system such as Ubuntu or TAILS (The Amnesic Incognito Live System).

The deep web, including its various darknet markets, cannot be accessed using the standard internet protocol. The Tor Anonymous Network requires a special software package called the Tor Browser in order to access its hidden content. The Tor Browser is available for free on Linux, Mac and Windows operating systems here. TAILS, the anonymous live operating system, comes pre-installed with the Tor Browser.

Step 2. Browsing the darknet marketplace

Market example: Agora

For the purpose of the tutorial, I will be using Agora.

Main article: Comparison of darknet markets

Once you have downloaded the Tor browser, go through the installation process and access the marketplaces via the link below:

>> Click here to view an updated list of markets on the subreddit /r/darknetmarkets <<

Step 3. Buying bitcoin

Attention niels epting.svg It is highly recommended to use caution when using an unknown exchange website as it is easy to get scammed. The search function on /r/bitcoin should be utilized in order to check user feedback before investing money.

To make a purchase on the darknet, you must exchange your local currency for bitcoin using an exchange website.

While there are dozens of websites that allow for this exchange, for the purposes of this tutorial, I will be explaining how to use both Coinbase and LocalBitcoin.

Coinbase uses your bank details and credit card information while LocalBitcoins uses cash, online bank transfers, and many other payment methods. Another exchange that is commonly used is Circle.

Option 1. Coinbase

Coinbase is a bitcoin wallet and exchange service used in the United States and eighteen European countries (Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Latvia, Malta, Portugal, Slovakia, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland, and Poland) for a fee of about 1% of the value of the transaction. To use the buy/sell service, customers have to provide photo identification and bank details, setup two-factor authentication on a mobile phone, and wait seven days.

Option 2. Local Bitcoins (more private)

On this bitcoin exchange, users post advertisements on the website where they state exchange rate and payment methods for buying or selling bitcoins. Other users reply to these advertisements and agree to meet the person to buy bitcoins with cash or pay with online banking. LocalBitcoins offers a reputation and feedback mechanism for its users and an escrow and conflict-resolution service. It is more private than Coinbase because you do not have to include your real name and address.

Step 4. PGP encryption (recommended)

Attention niels epting.svg Although it is strongly discouraged and will leave your identify and address insecure, this step isn't always necessary.

PGP encryption allows you to transmit your personal information and address securely using a system of symmetric-key encryption. While this isn't always necessary, many vendors require it in order to purchase a product. There is open source software available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. There is also a JavaScript web applet available here. To create a public key for usage in two-factor authentication (which is necessary for Grams Helix tumbler service and some marketplaces to add an extra layer of security), you must generate a public key for yourself using PGP.

Below are instructions how to create your personal key pair as well as encrypt and decrypt text. Different graphical user interfaces of GnuPG program are explained.

Option 1: Gnu Privacy Assistant

Installation: The Gnu Privacy Assitant (GPA) can be compiled under every Unix-like operating system and Windows as well. It may be available in the repositories of your Linux distribution.

Option 2: GPG4USB

Installation: GPG4USB is a portable GnuPG program. Executable starters for Linux and Windows are included. A decent guide for GPG4USB can be found at DeepDotWeb.

Option 3: Gpg4win

Installation: Gpg4win is the windows version of the Gnu Privacy Assistant. It can be installed with the setup files available at the Gpg4win website.

Option 4: GPGTools

Installation: GPGTools can be downloaded here.

Option 5: JavaScript web applet

Attention niels epting.svg The JavaScript web applet is the simplest, yet least secure method of using PGP to encrypt your address and personal details. If you would like the most security, it is highly recommended to download and utilize a PGP program using your computer instead.

Step 5. Transferring bitcoin

In order to make a purchase, you must transfer your bitcoins from your Coinbase or LocalBitcoin wallet into the marketplace's wallet. This can be done using both of your 26-35 character bitcoin addresses via the "send bitcoins" link. It may take several hours. For extra security purposes, it is recommended that you use a separate service to tumble your bitcoins such as Helix, as this will make your personal details untraceable. However, this is not required.

Grams by Helix

Step 6. Buying products

Market example: Agora

If possible, avoid buying from vendors who require you to finalize early (FE) as it is easy to get scammed when going outside the escrow system.

Step 7. Finalizing

Market example: Agora

Finalizing your order in the escrow system allows the vendor to get paid for their service. If you have an issue with your order, ask for a time extension or have it resolved by the vendor or Agora staff as soon as possible.