The grand ‘return’ of the world’s second-most famous darknet market, AlphaBay, is failing to impress the community, with many would-be users avoiding the site due to an assortment of concerns. Nearly seven weeks after AlphaBay’s supposed ‘re-opening,’ the market has managed to attract just a small number of vendors and even fewer customers. This is despite the relatively massive attention its re-opening has received in the media.
A recent article by Wired, which features an interview with AlphaBay admin DeSnake, attempted to shed some light as to why the market hasn’t taken off. Among the reasons are persistent DDOS attacks and the decision to accept Monero (XMR)-only for order payments, but the main problem is a lack of trust by the community. Flashpoint security expert Ian Gray told Wired that he was personally distrustful of DeSnake and that “across communities there’s a general distrust.”
AlphaBay’s listings currently total slightly less than 800, with about 400 of them in the Drugs & Chemicals section. As there were only 300 total listings just three weeks ago, this represents a 167% increase in the last 20 days. At the peak of its popularity in 2017, the market had approximately 350,000 listings.
Sales, on the other hand, remain scarce and limited to a handful of vendors. Most sections, though filled with listings and vendors awaiting customers, have zero product sales according to stats kept on each listing. There were single sales spotted for listings of shrooms, marijuana, cocaine, and alprazolam. One listing for Ecstasy had two sales.
The market’s welcome message and the first return message left by DeSnake insist this is not the “new AlphaBay” or “AlphaBay 2.0” but rather a continuation of the same market that shut down in 2017. Not many are sure that this is the case, however, despite DeSnake being verified as a former AlphaBay admin by senior members of the Dread forum.
“The entire point of us returning is about rebuilding the AlphaBay brand and creating something unique and new which will set the standard for a new way how things can be approached,” wrote DeSnake on Dread when asked why he chose not to rebrand the operation. “No other big market has come from the ‘dead’ so whether it is a good decision business-wise – time will tell.”