Darknet markets are often seen as a honeypot for criminals from all over the world. Most people frequenting these forums will look to buy or sell illegal goods and services, in both physical and digital forms. However, darknet marketplaces also have a tendency to shut down unexpectedly. That is exactly what happened to the Outlaw Dark Web market, although no one knows for sure what triggered this sudden decision.
Outlaw Marketplace Goes Up In Smoke
It is never a good sign when a darknet marketplace suddenly disappears without warning or explanation. Although these services are always scrutinized by law enforcement agencies in the hopes of catching criminals, most platforms stick around quite some time. Outlaw is one of those marketplaces that has been around for some time now since it has been in operation since 2013. That is quite a significant milestone for any platform related to illegal goods and services.
Despite being such a “scene veteran,” Outlaw has never been among the most popular underground marketplaces either. Even then, the platform had a loyal customer base, and some new faces would pop up every now and then. It is a big mystery as to why this marketplace has disappeared all of a sudden. The administrators claim they were hacked, although the overall community seems to believe this is a clear exit scam.
If this latter explanation is the truth, it casts a dark shadow of underground marketplace son the deep web. It is not the first time a big marketplace disappears and runs off with the money. Outlaw became quite popular ever since Silk Road was shut down, and other competitors slowly going out of business over the past few years. Outlaw also had a unique feature dubbed “dead drop”, which allowed buyers to pick up goods from predetermined locations.
Ever since last Tuesday came around, the Outlaw marketplace became completely inaccessible. Although the page briefly stated an explanation of how the “wallet has been stolen”, many people believe this is not the real story. Blaming a sudden shut down on a hack is not uncommon among darknet marketplace operators. The main administrators of the site have not been heard from for quite some time now, which only fuels the rumors about a potential exit scam.
For the time being, the other operators of the Outlaw marketplace remain tight-lipped regarding how the platform was hacked in the first place. It is unclear how much goodness was stored in Bitcoin escrow accounts on the platform at the time it disappeared, though. With the Bitcoin price going through the roof right now, an exit scam would be more than appealing to greedy people looking to make bank.Right now, one Bitcoin is valued at $2,034, and that price may continue to go up over the next few weeks.
Although a lot of people lean toward the story of an exit scam, it is important to remember darknet markets get hacked regularly. A lot of platforms had to deal with stolen funds or exploits harming their website. AlphaBay uncovered a major flaw, just this year, and Hansa launched its own bug bounty program. A shutdown by government agencies is not unlikely either, as a similar incident took the Bloomsfield marketplace offline a few weeks ago.
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