Looking for illicit drugs and other black market goods? For years the place to go was Silk Road. Now, it's Agora.
Late in August, the Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA), an Internet safety nonprofit, released a report detailing various darknet marketplaces.
Wired, which picked up the report earlier today, notes that "the analysis counts 16,137 products for sale on [Agora]. … That's about 200 more listings than Silk Road 2.0." And it's growing quickly. "The latest numbers for Agora … represent a dramatic shift from just four months ago, when it had only 7,400 product listings."
What has pushed Agora to the top? "Just as on the rest of the internet, users on the dark net are very quick to move on to new things and move away from those products and websites that seem stale and old," Adam Benson, a representative from the DCA tells Wired.
Significantly, Silk Road was subject to an FBI takedown last year. Although it came back swinging as Silk Road 2.0, hackers robbed 40 percent of its users of $2.7 million, undoubtedly leaving many wary of the site. Agora also happens to sell weapons, which Silk Road had ceased doing several years ago. The DCA reports has some other facts about the online black market:
- Over the last several months Silk Road has been under serious and frequent DDOS attack. That, along with a massive hack of Bitcoin earlier this year, has not only stymied growth, but led to a decrease in listings of 10 percent. Pandora also lost a large portion of Bitcoin due to a hack and has seen very little growth since our report came out.
- Agora and Evolution Marketplace have been the benefactors of the misfortunes of SR 2.0 and Pandora. As the chart above points out, both sites have seen tremendous growth and Agora appears primed to overtake Silk Road 2.0 as the largest Darknet Marketplace based on total number of drugs listed.
- White Rabbit Anonymous Marketplace, which was included in our report is now dead.
- Dark Bay shut down and merged with a new site, Andromeda Market, which has seen large growth and is now included in our large market category.
All Agora transactions are conducted with Bitcoin and are kept under the radar by The Tor Project's anonymizing router. You'll probably end up on a watchlist for doing it, but here's instructions on how to get onto Agora.