Panic has gripped Dark web after Empire Market went offline for more than 3 days without any explanation from admins about the downtime.
Last Wednesday, when everything was working normal suddenly empire market started to work very slow. It was a Dos attack that was happening on all of the links, slowing it down to the point making it unusable. After 4 months of strong uptime, users were optimistic that empire market’s team will solve this problem and make the site work again like they did in the past. But this time things didn’t work out well like they did in the past and here we have a market that is down for so much time making its users fear for the worst.
History of Empire Market & its Downtimes
The development of empire market started in 2017 after the downfall of alphabay market. The admins publically announced on reddit about their project and kept informing users about the project’s progress at every stage. Their aim was to develop a market with same design and user interface like alphabay. It was an instant hit. Everyone was missing alphabay so Empire having the same feel like ab became the number 1 choice of users to join.
The instant success of empire market brought them a lot of enemies especially admins of the rival markets and some shady characters like Stackz420(Gustav). I will tell you guys later about him in my next article. That guy works with LE. He used a Tor exploit to attack Empire Market relentlessly bringing it down most of the time. Empire Market came up with a solution which involved changing mirros every 10 minutes to keep the site up. It worked well in terms of uptime but on the other end it opened a whole new open season for phishing attacks. Nevertheless this method worked well to keep the site up.
After the launch of Endgame anti Ddos system, Empire market launched a few permanent mirrors. Its uptime went to 100% and everyone was happy with how the market was working. Although this didn’t last more than a few months after this new attack completely knocked down its servers.
Rants by Head Moderator
Empire market’s head mod se7en used to post rants from time to time targeting people he didn’t liked. In a recent rant before the downtime he posted on dread forum with the title “The State of the Darkweb” in which he accused of multiple markets trying to destroy the whole darknet scene. He specifically targeted Big Blue Market accusing it of being run by Godman666 a known phisher. He said
BIG BLUE MARKET (godman666)
This market is co-adminstrated by BigBlueOdeon and godman666. godman666 is someone that has been phishing users for a long time, he was a forum moderator on the old Empire Forum, and was kicked off the forum only a week later after we realized how scummy he was. He extorts and black mails vendors for fun. He runs multiple fake darkfail clones. Most of this is already public knowledge. It’s why Big Blue Market was ignored by dark.fail and darknetlive.com. It’s why Dread removed their ad. Big Blue Market is entirely funded through funds obtained through phishing and extorting vendors. godman666 has also bragged to me about sending information to law enforcement, he does then whenever he thinks it will benefit him in anyway. Another one of godman666’s achievements is spreading disgusting FUD, one example is spreading pedo FUD against me and HugBunter. Over the last year he has had upwards of 100 accounts banned on Dread for phishing spam and FUD. I don’t know much about BigBlueOdeon, but i do know that he knows the truth about godman666 and is supportive of his actions. For a lot more information on this. /u/MonopolyOfficial has done an excellent job on bringing awareness to how Big Blue Market is rotten to it’s core. Shame on any site still supporting Big Blue Market, most noticeably, their biggest supporter: OnionDotLive.
Two days after writing this post Empire Market started getting ddos’d that’s why some users and a few news outlets started to connect this post with the recent ddos attacks on empire.
Before deleting his account today, Se7en said in a statement that in reality Endgame filter was useless and Empire was paying the attacker 10 to 15k usd a week to keep their site up. But this recent ddos attack was from a new attacker indirectly pointing his fingers to Big Blue Market. He said
Empire Market started having good uptime again after the EndGame links were added 4 months ago. The market was online because the two admins agreed to make weekly payments to /u/SchwererGustav to keep the market online. Gustav had been holding down the market brutally for a long time and when the EndGame links were added, he took all those down too. That was probably the closest the market came to a breaking point and a deal was made. I wasn’t told of the specific details of the arrangement and i never spoke directly to Gustav but i can guess he must have been getting paid at least $10k or $15k a week maybe more.
The market was already in a complicated spot with Gustav and when new DDOS came from a new DDOSer that could hold down 9 EndGame links. This was probably when the admins decided to call it quits. I doubt they would want to pay multiple DDOSers and at the same time it wouldn’t work paying one DDOSer if another is holding the market down.
Big Blue’s Response to Se7en’s Allegations
We talked to big blue admin odeon about the allegations made by se7en against his market. He categorically denied ddosing empire market and told us that he does have the capability to destroy any market he wants to but doesn’t do so because he believes in fair competition. He wants to stay long and make the time prove that his market is the best of all.
Odeon also said that Godman666 did work for his market but he removed him as soon as he came to know about his activities. He said that he kicked godman just like empire kicked him from a moderator post in the past. He was never a part of core team of big blue that runs the market.
Odeon will send us his detailed statement today. We will update this article when we get it.
Timeline Of Events
- Late 2017: Development of Empire Market begins. Admin announces it publicly on reddit.
- Early 2018: Empire comes online. Users registrations opened and a lottery is announced.
- In 2019: Early ddos attacks start by shady characters working with rival admins. Empire comes up with rotating mirror solution to stay up.
- May 2020: Endgame anti ddos filter announced and Empire market became the first one to use it.
- June 2020: Big Blue claimed Endgame is not working as its advertised by creators. Big Blue ditched Endgame and opted to use OnionDotLive’s anti ddos system.
- July 2020: Empire Market left dread and launched its own forum.
- August 05-2020: Head of Threat Research at Riskiq (a security research company) post ip address of one of empire market tor nodes. Yonathan Klijnsma said ‘Empire Market has recently misconfigured one of their Tor nodes which runs at 188.8.131.52’.
- August 19-2020: A heavy Ddos attack hits again making the market inaccessible after 4 months of stable uptime.
- August 20-2020: Empire Mod Melbourne confirmed the ddos attack and assured the users that they are working hard to come up with a fix.
- August 20-2020: Monero deposits and withdrawals stopped working.
- August 21-2020: Another message from Melbourne warning users about FUD and claiming it takes time to come up with a solution that is safe and secure.
- August 24-2020: Empire market Head Moderator Se7en releases his first statement after the downtime. He said “If the market is still down in a couple of days I’ll make a post about the whole situation then, it’s early days and maybe the admins will bring it back.”
- August 25-2020: Today Se7en released a detailed statement in which he accepted that Endgame anti ddos filter was useless. Empire market kept itself online by paying Gustav (stackz420 etc etc same guy) 10 to 15k$ per week for not taking them offline. The staff was tired of these attacks. As a fresh ddos attatck from a new ddoser that took all 9 links offline was probably the reason when the admins decided to call it quits. He blamed Tor for not providing a fix in a timely manner. He also said “It’s now been over 48 hours of the market being down. The market mod panel has also been down that long. I had hoped it would have returned by now. It is looking very unlikely that it will. The mod panel is down and the admins are not on jabber.”
- August 25-2020: Se7en deletes his account from dread forum.
I know some of you have been hoping that a miracle will happen and empire market will be back. I am hoping the same but the reality works differently. I have been on the dark web since the silk road days. I have seen many exit scams and take downs. My experience tells me that its time to move on. Empire is not coming back. Be a man and accept your loss. Exit scams are part of dnm life, some lose and some gain.
The business must continue no matter what happens. Many of you guys will be wondering where to move next? My suggestion is always move to a big market where you have big selection of vendors and the staff is also professional with less fear of exit scam as compared to small time markets.
Icarus Market is now the biggest darknet market after the downfall of empire. Most of the users are migrating there. I have personally used this market and found it to be nice with great features for both vendors and buyers.
In the end i am sorry for everyone’s loss. I wish everyone recovers from their loss, best of luck guys. Stay safe, stay happy.