Nucleus, a notorious darknet marketplace, has been inaccessible since April 13 and disgruntled users have taken to Reddit to voice their outrage. The Nucleus, as well as the DarkNetMarkets subreddits, have exploded with theories regarding the recent downtime. One redditor points to some transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain, which he outlines in his theory about how the owner of Nucleus may have been apprehended by the authorities.
According to Vendor_BBMC, who is familiar with the bitcoin addresses associated with owner of the Nucleus market, 5000 BTC still remains in the main wallet and only a 12 BTC withdrawal was completed on the 13th of April – the same day Nucleus went down.
This may suggest that an exit scam is unlikely, as most of the funds would have been withdrawn through various bitcoin tumblers by now. The bitcoin address to which this 12 BTC was withdrawn to, has had a total of 1,699 BTC pass through it.
“I’ve got a feeling that the handcuffs have locked. The last withdrawal from Nucleus was on 13 April, a hefty 12 btc which is almost certainly by the owner (there is 5000 btc remaining in the marketplace wallets, nothing stolen).”
The Nucleus marketplace has gone down in the past for extended periods of time and many hopeful vendors have said that this incident may be some kind of temporary technical issue. For example, in July of last year, Motherboard reported on a hack that took down Nucleus for several days.
However, Vendor_BBMC speculates that a 59 BTC withdrawal by Nucleus’ owner on the 20th – which can be seen on WalletExplorer – may have alerted authorities. The 59 BTC was supposedly withdrawn thru users on LocalBitcoins and did not pass thru a tumbler, which may have opened the door for law enforcement to subpoena the user involved in that transaction.
While this may sounds like a plausible theory, other users aren’t convinced by BBMC’s post, “So… you mean to tell me that someone with financial means and general knowledge to start, promote, and run a marketplace could be as stupid as to not tumble his own bitcoins before selling?” another redditor asked.
Details are still scarce and speculative theories are in plentiful supply. The Nucleus subreddit has been flooded with spam posts from rival marketplace DreamMarket.
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