Darknet's Evolution drug marketplace poofs along with $12 million in bitcoins

Another high stakes bitcoin heist may have happened on the deep web as Evolution Market, the biggest drug marketplace on the darknet, vanished; users and vendors are out for blood, blaming the admins for stealing about $20 million in bitcoins.

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Credit: BTC Keychain

There are a lot of really ticked drug dealers as the online black marketplace Evolution Market went poof from the darknet and so too did the community’s bitcoins worth over $12 million.

It’s not just drug dealers who are upset as Evolution Market, known as Evo, was reportedly even more hardcore than the Silk Road, selling "more than 15,000 mostly illegal products ranging from weapons to weed, cocaine, and heroin,” as well as stolen credit card numbers, credentials for hacked online accounts and hacking services.

The “face,” or public relations person, for the Evolution marketplace took to Reddit to air suspicions that the Evolution admins had “exit scammed;” if true, then that means the Evo admins scammed “thousands of drug dealers” as they took the money and ran. Not a tiny amount of money, but stole an estimated $12 million worth of bitcoins even though the exact amount is difficult to calculate at this time. Vendors who hawked illegal wares are reportedly out for blood and talking about hiring hit-men; one user gave the Evolution Marketplace admins, who reportedly go by the aliases of “Kimble” and “Verto,” 24 hours to return the stolen bitcoins or die.

CryptoCoinNews listed numerous possible scenarios that didn't involve speculating Evo admins are responsible for a huge heist. “The servers were found, the owners were arrested, and the coins now sit in a government-controlled account. The mafia finally figured out who they were and decided to shut them down, and the cost of staying alive was turning over all the coins. The operators suspected an impending raid, moved the coins to a new address, and will soon return to action.”

“Evolution operates on an escrow system, allowing buyers and sellers to more confidently and successfully consummate sales of dodgy goods,” explained Brian Krebs. “But that means the market’s administrators at any given time have direct access to a tempting amount of virtually untraceable currency.”

Before Evolution’s servers went down, Reddit user NSWGreat said:

I have admin access to see parts of the back end, the admins are preparing to exit scam with all the funds. Not a single withdrawal has gone through in almost a week. Automatic withdrawals has been disabled which is only doing on rare occasions.

I am so sorry, but Verto and Kimble have f***ed us all. I have over $20,000 in escrow myself from sales.

Verto and Kimble’s bitcoin wallet has allegedly been identified, but there’s no solid proof just yet that it’s theirs. Is anyone surprised that Evolution admins stole bitcoins from Evo users and vendors? InsideBitcoins asked before adding:

One of the main issues in the early years of bitcoin has been users trusting other people with their private keys. Whenever a large number of bitcoins are piled up by one centralized entity, that pile becomes a target for hackers and malicious insiders. It’s bad enough when people are trusting known individuals with their bitcoins, but the idea of essentially trusting an online bank run by anonymous individuals not to steal your money is ridiculous. The situation becomes even more unbelievable when you point out that at least one of the administrators of Evolution was also behind the Tor Carding Forum — a private forum that specialized in financial crime.

Forbes estimated that Evolution was a $50 million drug and gun marketplace, before adding, ”The Shiny-Flakes dealership, which German police claimed to have neutered last week in a major bust, had left an ominous message on their vendor page last week too: ‘DO NOT BUY HERE. VENDORS RUN FOR YOUR LIFE’.”

The value of Bitcoin is falling in reaction to the alleged Evolution heist. At the time of publishing, one bitcoin was worth $269.96 and still dropping, down from $291 on Tuesday.

Those falling prices should make members of the Whale Club ecstatic as CoinDesk reported the Whale Club trading room “loves bitcoin price declines.” It’s not the first bitcoin theft or hack and it’s unlikely to be the last. However, a new report by Juniper Research claimed, “The bitcoin cryptocurrency system will have nearly 5 million active users by 2019, but it will still remain a niche marketplace.”

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