AlphaBay becomes the largest dark web marketplace again

In the battle for the top of the dark web marketplaces, AlphaBay is on its way to the top spot. But it’s still a long way from its predecessor.

AlphaBay is back on the way to number one. Law enforcement agencies have taken several providers offline in recent months. But for each, two new illegal online shops go online.

In July 2017 the drug and cybercrime market AlphaBay was dismantled by a global law enforcement operation dubbed “Operation Bayonet”, with the site’s central server in Lithuania being seized and its inventor Alexandre Cazes arrested outside his Bangkok home.


Yet in August last year, dived AlphaBay’s second administrator and IT security specialist, known publicly only as DeSnake, suddenly revived. DeSnake announced the resurrection of AlphaBay in a new and improved form. Now, months later, thanks in part to a series of takedowns and the mysterious disappearance of competing dark web markets, the DeSnake-revived AlphaBay is poised to re-establish itself at the forefront of the digital underworld. Observers are increasingly coming to the conclusion that AlphaBay is already the market leader again.

84. Offers at AlphaBay

In the last week According to IT magazine WIRED 84 AlphaBay had . individual products on offer. These were mostly drugs, ranging from ecstasy to opioids to methamphetamines. There are also thousands of offers for malware and stolen data, such as social security numbers and credit card details. According to analysts at Flashpoint, which closely monitors competing markets, AlphaBay had more than 1 in the first six months of this year.300 active providers. At ASAP, another marketplace, it was about 1.000 Vendors (seller). According to Flashpoint, AlphaBay’s range of offerings is growing significantly faster than its competitors.

For AlphaBay 1.0, there were over 1210. Products

For comparison: at closing existed more than 350.000 Goods that 2017 were offered for sale. At that time, up to two million US dollars were generated per day (!). As I said, what is meant is sales and not profit. According to the FBI, old AlphaBay was about 10 times the size of the legendary Silk Road drug market. DeSnake declined to share actual sales figures. They should be in the high double digits.

Advertisement for the cryptocurrency Monero in Stockholm. Photo Lars Sobiraj.

The fact that there can only pay with the privacy-friendly currency Monero. The use of Bitcoin is prohibited at Alphabay. At least Dark Web markets are in recent 10 gone offline months ago for various reasons. Some have been busted by law enforcement, such as the Dark Market, which was the target of a Europol-led operation early last year. Or, more recently, the large Russian-language drug and money laundering market Hydra, whose servers were confiscated in a raid in April. Others, such as Dark0de and World Market, are assumed to be operators’ exit scams. Cannazon and White House Market went offline without cheating users out of their funds. Versus went offline after a critical vulnerability was announced.

Busts & DDoS causing many abandoned markets

Analysts see the constant DDoS attacks, which seriously threaten the existence of the marketplaces, as the reason for the exit of many competitors. Add to that the ever-present threat of law enforcement from around the world. All of this tempted some admins from other markets to take their money and run away. The bust out 2000 resulted in US law enforcement leaking a whole lot of information about the employees of received AlphaBay. Investigators hope that sooner or later this will lead to clues as to DeSnake’s identity. Not only the old connections could become problematic for the admin, but also the popularity of the new version of AlphaBay, which he manages.

AlphaGuard : Return possible in a few days

WIRED wrote DeSnake he lives where he will not be extradited. Apparently he lives somewhere in Russia. Whether this is true cannot be verified. DeSnake also claims to have developed complex technical protections that include redundant infrastructure in multiple countries, along with a system called AlphaGuard. AlphaGuard is designed to automatically restart the site on new servers. You would then be up and running again within a few days without losing any money. He also took special measures to protect his identity. But as I said, you can claim a lot.


A novel decentralized marketplace network is currently being developed, in which dark web markets are to be hosted on hundreds or thousands of servers. This is intended to look like some sort of uncensorable, untrackable bittorrent network. Incidentally, the dark commerce market of the future will no longer need an operator. A first test version of the new marketplace should be finished by the end of 2022. Until then, AlphaBay wants to do one thing above all: grow, grow and grow again. After the end of the beta phase, the current marketplace should then be integrated step-by-step into the new infrastructure.

Meanwhile, the cat-and-mouse game with the authorities is of course continuing. It remains to be seen whether there will really be an AlphaBay 3.0, which nobody can censor or take off the net. At least for the time being, the operator does not have to worry about DDoS attacks or a lack of vendors or customers. Everything is going like clockwork in this respect.


About Lars Sobiraj2184

Lars Sobiraj started in the year 2000 when Lateral entrants to work for various computer magazines. 2006 numerous other online magazines were added in addition to He is the founder of In addition, Ghandy, as he calls himself in the scene, since 2014 at various universities and training institutions how the internet works.

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