Users of Evolution, a Dark Net marketplace for illegal goods and substances, have been left in a bind after the operators vanished, taking some RM43 million worth of Bitcoin with them. In most cases, this would be a massive consumer rights issue; but what do you expect when dealing with criminals who sell drugs and cannot be traced?
The Dark Net is known as a place for securing illegal goods and substances, and new marketplaces often spring up after one gets shut down. Silk Road was one of the most notorious of these sites, and users could find anything from drugs to guns within the site. The FBI shut Silk Road down in 2013, only for it to reappear as Silk Road 2.0. That too was raided by authorities and the own, a Ross Ulbricht, was convicted on charges of money laundering, hacking, drug trafficking, and even attempted murder.
Evolution was one of two sites that appeared in the wake of Silk Road 2.0, and proved to be a clean, reliable site for drug dealers to conduct their business. However, the site abruptly disappeared from the Dark Net and the owners – who go by the pseudonyms Vert and Kimble – ran off with all the Bitcoin that buyers held in their accounts.
Users have been attempting to discover the identity of Vert and Kimble, but have as of yet been unable to discover any information. Several users have taken advantage of the situation by claiming to know the persons in question and would reveal the details in exchange for varying amounts of Bitcoin.
This is not the first of the Dark Net marketplaces to turn out to be a scam. Two sites in 2013 similarly ran off with users’ Bitcoin, and the owners of both sites were never heard from again. Naturally, new marketplaces have begun appearing again after the closure of Evolution.
Several users have taken to the Evolution subreddit to plead for their Bitcoin back, as it appears that they have ended up owing drug dealers money. A situation that may end with physical violence occurring; considering that organised crime is not known to be the most understanding of organisations. Which only goes to show that buying illegal drugs online is a terrible idea.