During the last week of September, the administrators of the AlphaBay Market made an announcement through their homepage that a new feature “Timed Messaging” has been introduced as per the request of the Agora Market refugees who have come to their site. As users logged into their accounts, the AlphaBay Market website greeted them with an announcement in their news feed that a new feature, the new messaging system, has been released. The Timed Messaging feature enables users to incorporate a random delay at the time of sending a message to the website. Therefore, when a user starts a new conversation with another user on Agora, he/she can set the time, or even the date, at which the message has to be sent.
The gist of the admin’s message on AlphaBay Market website is that they now allow randomized delays for sending messages. Users are required to choose one of the options – whether to send messages now or later – when they are starting a new conversation with another member. All users of AlphaBay Market may not consider this as an important feature, but for some it may be of great help. However, the key aspect of this new feature is that AlphaBay Market has taken the trouble to enhance user experience on their website. In fact, AlphaBay’s eagerness to listen to what the visitors to their website have to say and implement solid features like this differentiates them from their competitors and also helps them to always stay one step ahead.
The new feature follows the announcement of the introduction of a feature to help reduce the number of scams on the marketplace by AlphaBay Market admins based on the input received through the discussions in their forums. The feature, referred to as the AlphaBay Scam Watch Team, allows the top community members AlphaBay to work with their staff to quickly clear out scammers so that genuine users can have a better and positive experience on their website. The anti-scam team, a paid position, consists of @vaas, @penissmith and @onionhood. Each member of the team, recognized and proven, focuses not only on fraud, but also on drugs, hacking and malware, among others. Scam Watch Team members patrol the AlphaBay Marketplace as well as the forums all the time to detect and prevent scams or potential scam signals. They also have the authority to freeze vendor accounts for up to 24 hours, if they suspect that scamming is involved.
Agora, the bitcoin-based darknet marketplace that was reigning supreme, has already gone offline, may be temporarily, to shore up its defenses against potential attacks as it believes that they might be used to identify the servers and operators of the site. The Agora admin posted a message, both on the website and Reddit forum, that suspicious activity forced them to move their servers. As a result of these developments, a large number of Agora website users have moved over to AlphaBay Market.
AlphaBay Market, an online darknet market that operates on the Tor network, was pre-launched in November 2014. The website was subsequently officially launched on 22 December 2014. This darknet marketplace has witnessed steady growth after 14,000 new users registered during the first ninety days of its operation. In the recent past, AlphaBay announced that they have hit the 200,000 users mark.
Gwern.net, the darknet informer website, classified AlphaBay Market as a top-tier operator on the basis of 6-month survival probability. AlphaBay Market has been successful thus far and according to Dan Palumbo, research director, Digital Citizens Alliance, it is the largest online darknet marketplace as of now.
AlphaBay Market allows sale of drugs, stolen credit card numbers, weapons and other illegal items in exchange for payments in bitcoins to ensure anonymity. Though AlphaBay Market is based out of Russia, it uses the English language for communications as international users are involved. AlphaBay Market was founded by alpha02 who is a reputable member of most of the carding forums and is popular among experienced carders. He decided to have a marketplace of his own and allow vendors from the world over to sell goods to those who were looking for products. Vendors from all over the world can buy and sell all types of products on the marketplace. However, the rules of AlphaBay Market prohibit the sale of customer data related to Russian victims.
AlphaBay ensures protection to buyers all the time by processing transactions by means of a centralized Escrow system. As and when a transaction is initiated by a user, the funds are held for some time in an Escrow system till the buyer acknowledges the receipt of goods sent to him/her. The marketplace also makes available a decentralized multi-signature system. It involves the release of private keys to sellers upon finalization of contracts.
In May this year, AlphaBay Market introduced what is referred to as an integrated digital contracts and escrow system, which allows users not only to make engagements, but also to agree to offer services in the future as per agreed contractual terms.