Insider Report: Darknet reacts to Dream Market announcement

Dream Market — one of the largest and most active remaining darknet marketplaces — has announced that it is officially shuttering its doors in its current location. The notification, which can be found on every page in the marketplace, indicates it will be transferring its services to a new URL and partner company at the end of April.

This news announcement comes just weeks after Dream Market has been weathering heavy DDoS attacks, leaving many of its domains unserviceable for intermittent periods.

 
Notification on Dream Market about migrating services to a new URL at the end of April 2019.

Notification on Dream Market about migrating services to a new URL at the end of April 2019.

 

Dream Market has been around since 2013, making it one of the darknet’s longest lasting marketplaces and a leading go-to in the community for illicit sales. The news about the migration has been a topic of many discussions on the darknet, including on Dread, a darknet forum dedicated to security and harm reduction for darknet marketplace purchases.

User Waterchain, a moderator for Dread’s Dream Market sub forum and alleged member of Dream Market’s team, posted a statement regarding the migration. The statement claims that it was prompted by DDoS attacks “on the TOR browser side” and an alleged extortion attempt.  

 
“Official” statement by an alleged Dream Market team member on the darknet forum Dread. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

“Official” statement by an alleged Dream Market team member on the darknet forum Dread. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

Vendors and buyers alike feel displaced after this announcement as they try to figure out their exit plans. Earlier this week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) published a press release about shutting down 50 darknet accounts that were used for illicit activities under operation SaboTor (Sabotage Tor).

This, and the timing of Dream Market’s closure, has led some darknet market consumers to believe that Dream Market has been compromised by law enforcement.

 
Dread user expressing concern regarding the timing of Dream Market’s closure and Operation SaboTor. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

Dread user expressing concern regarding the timing of Dream Market’s closure and Operation SaboTor. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

Related Read — Dream Market: Another law enforcement takeover?

Some members are hopeful that Dream Market is simply experiencing technical difficulties and still plan to use their new market once it’s back online, while other vendors have already transitioned to other markets.

 
Dream Market vendor UPactive advertises listings on two other popular markets. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

Dream Market vendor UPactive advertises listings on two other popular markets. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

Some newer, less active markets have tried to capitalize on this opportunity by offering incentives for vendors to transition to their marketplace. One such market is Cryptonia Market, which has offered incentives for former Dream Market vendors to switchover to their marketplace.

 
A post from Cryptonia Market, offering fee waivers and other incentives to verified Dream Market vendors. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

A post from Cryptonia Market, offering fee waivers and other incentives to verified Dream Market vendors. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

While moderators of Dread’s Dream Market sub forum have tried to assure the public that the market was not compromised, there hasn’t been an announcement signed with Dream Market’s official PGP key. This, and the fact that the official Dream Market forum is offline, leaves some users skeptical.

Update:

On the forum DNM Avengers, user rockemsockem45 pointed out that the date format used in the shutdown message is different than previous messages by admin and staff, further adding to the suspicion that the market has been compromised.

 
DNM Avengers user rockemsockem45 posts about the inconsistency of the date format used in the shutdown message.

DNM Avengers user rockemsockem45 posts about the inconsistency of the date format used in the shutdown message.

 

Also, starting earlier this week, multiple vendors have claimed that Dream Market’s support staff are attempting to scam vendors. According to Dread user Terrysukstock, the scam starts by disabling the vendor’s ability to withdraw funds from their account. The vendor is notified via support ticket that fund withdrawal will be restored after the vendor verifies their identity by supplying their password and most recently used bitcoin address.

If the vendor supplies the password, Dream’s support staff changes the password and removes their PGP key, making the vendor’s account inaccessible. Terrysukstock, a vendor with over 34,000 reviews and an average rating of 4.8/5 on Dream Market, claims he followed these instructions and lost over 5 bitcoin.

 
Vendor Terrysukstock posts about falling victim to Dream Market’s support staff scam. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

Vendor Terrysukstock posts about falling victim to Dream Market’s support staff scam. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

Several vendors have supported Terrysukstock’s experience. Vendor GreentreeCA’s posted his support ticket to Dread to provide evidence of the scam.

 
The support ticket that Vendor GreentreeCA received, providing evidence of the scam.

The support ticket that Vendor GreentreeCA received, providing evidence of the scam.

 

Meanwhile, Dread’s Dream Market subforum moderator Waterchain has announced retirement due to “corrupted” moderators that have allegedly locked him out of his account.

 
Retirement message by former Dream Market moderator Waterchain. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

Retirement message by former Dream Market moderator Waterchain. (Image via DarkOwl Vision)

 

No official message has been forthcoming from Dream Market’s team regarding the scam allegations.

Note: This story is developing. DarkOwl will continue to monitor developments and post updates here, so remember to check back!

 

 

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