A few days ago, the AlphaBay admin team announced that they’ve reached 200,000 users. They are now believed to be the largest of the darknet markets. The official announcement at the AlphaBay forum states:
“We reached 200,000 users on the Marketplace just now. On behalf of the entire AlphaBay Staff, we thank you for your ongoing support, faith & effort to shape AlphaBay as it is today – a top-grade black market!
With the help of our community, we will continue to do our best to run AlphaBay for many milestones ahead in a transparent way, accompanied by strong security practices & blazing-fast marketplace speed.
Sincerely Thank You,
According to some accounts, this rapid growth of AlphaBay began after Agora marketplace shut down. Just as a reminder, Agora was the leading market on the darknet for a long time, which led to a great number of attacks and their frequent downtimes. It was for that reason, and because they needed some time to fix a few major security issues that the Agora admins decided to take a break. It is still considered by many users the most reliable, efficient and customer-oriented marketplace. Many other users, especially those that are still having trouble to withdraw their bitcoins, consider this the exit scam by the Agora admins.
So, it is reasonable to believe that this sudden rise in popularity of the AlphaBay Market was a direct consequence of the Agora’s downtime.
Head to head with AlphaBay is the Abraxas Market, but there are no records on the number of users they have. However, according to the number of comments and posts on the popular darknet forums, the general assumption is that AlphaBay and Abraxas count pretty much the same number of users. As for Abraxas Market, even though it’s considered a “decent alternative to Agora” by many users; some have reported of difficulties logging into their accounts and withdrawing their bitcoins.
The other, non-official announcement that was published as part of correspondence with AlphaBay admins:
“We are happy to see new users who take advantage of the range of functionality we offer. One of the most successful initiatives, ScamWatch, has stopped several vendor exit scams, banned many scammers and continues to offer help to scam victims by processing refund requests from banned vendor balance (by providing the appropriate evidence of course) etc. We are currently working to introduce new exciting features and improvements both in marketplace & forum to increase trust, security and functionality – coming soon.
A lot of different opinions ensued regarding AlphaBay and their recent announcement.
While lots of users are skeptical about the AlphaBay Market, its reliability and security; others expressed their frustration due to the alleged scams that are taking place on AlphaBay by its own admins. None of them, however, have provided any trustworthy evidence, so it all remains in the realm of speculations.
This is the first time that the number of market’s users has been disclosed to the public while the market is still operational; this is perhaps one of the strongest arguments users have against AlphaBay. One of them even went so far as to post a grim prediction on Reddit about how he expects the exit scam from the AlphaBay admins at their peak. He also said that he “prefers markets that just shut up, get things done and stay quiet. Like Agora was.”
Other users found their PR campaign a bit annoying especially because, according to them, the admins of AlphaBay Market instead of addressing issues prefer to hide them. Speaking of the issues, many commenters talked about the lack of support from the AlphaBay staff; they complained about being ignored and even banned/blocked from the market, so they had to open new accounts. Another sarcastic comment was made by one user: “120k accounts + 80k dummy accounts created to contact admins when locked out of regular accounts = 200k.”
The other darknet users pointed out that “AlphaBay has been very good” to them, and even more of them expressed their “congrats to admins of AlphaBay.” Quite a number of Reddit users praised the goods and the rates on the AlphaBay Market, and a certain number of vendors as well.
It remains unknown whether these allegations are true or false; whether they were made by trolls, actual dissatisfied customers or they were started by the AlphaBay’s competition in hope to tarnish their reputation on the darknet.
The only thing that’s clear is that AlphaBay Market counts 200,000 customers. For now at least; we’ll see who’s going to take the lead if or when Agora marketplace recuperates.