AlphaBay Market Link (Tor Browser required for access):
In this guide we explain everything you need to know to get starting using
Quick AlphaBay Stats
As of today AlphaBay Market had: 1,043 active vendors, 33,060 registered buyers and 1,334 active listings.
AlphaBay Market entered the dark web scene at a time that underground criminal networks were making a massive shift from brick-and-mortar establishments to transactions as a step towards reducing the likelihood of law enforcement interceptions.
Still, take not that traditional methods of distribution have never been fully replaced, considering that dark web drug dealers still utilize distribution channels such as the postal system.
The year following the 2014 Silk Road collapse created unprecedented opportunities for emerging dark web markets owing to the massive number of dark web refugees that were left stranded after the law enforcement seizure of the platform that was considered to be the pioneer of fast lane illicit business.
As such, experts noted a doubling in the dark web economy that followed the 10 months after the Silk Road closure – the UN World Drug Report of 2014 noted the growth in “the variety of chemicals available and bought on the darknet”.
AlphaBay itself was officially launched by Alexandre Cazes in December 2014 after running one pre-launch one month earlier and another in September the same year. The dark web market managed to realize a fast growth, with reports showing that the platform garnered an impressive 14,000 new users within the first three months of operation.
By October 2015, AlphaBay Market URL had grown to become the largest darknet platform in the world. This success was attributed to a number of unique factors that placed it ahead of its competition.
In part, the AlphaBay rise was fuelled by the closure of Agora Marketplace that had closed whop under unclear factors. Instead of the typical exit scams that have become a common phenomenon across underground markets, Agora allowed its users to withdraw their cryptocurrency before making an exit from the darknet scene silently.
The other aspect that gave AlphaBay a competitive edge was the fact that it provided a range of non-standard features that included customizable digital contracts designed to help users build a reputation – the service was a big step towards giving dark web buyers and vendors some grip on a community that had been riddled by unscrupulous scammers.
The platform’s release of an escrow system in May 2015 went further to assert the dark web market’s position as a world leader in underground marketplaces. Barely six months later, AlphaBay had transformed into a dark web titan, with an impressive user base of 200,000 members under its belt.
The dark web market’s emphasis on user security may have been another reason why darknet users kept flocking to AlphaBay. This is well reflected on the site’s integration of the Monero cryptocurrency that was considered to be a safer Bitcoin alternative in an environment that was constantly teeming with undercover law enforcement agents. If you have to use Bitcoin it is ofcourse adviced to use a bitcoin mixer such as ChipMixer.
At the time of its collapse in the year 2017, AlphaBay boasted a user base of 400,000 members with about 300,000 product listings ranging from illicit drugs to stolen credit card data. Dark web analysts reported that the site was clocking $600,000 to $800,000 in daily transactions, which was said to be a bigger scale than Silk Road’s.
Law Enforcement Seizure
In July 2017, law enforcement in the U.S. and Europe, with representation from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Europol and the Dutch National police, partnered in dismantling AlphaBay market.
The darknet site’s servers were captured with the help of law enforcement agencies in Thailand, Lithuania, Canada, the United Kingdom and France. The multiagency operation led to the arrest of the AlphaBay founder who was kept in police custody in Thailand on behalf of the U.S. authorities.
According to official reports, the defendant was held by the Royal Thai Police for about a week before dying under controversial circumstances. While the police reported that the suspect took his own life on July 12, 2017, a host of dark web fans still feel that the man’s death was a classic case of extrajudicial killing.
A 2017 press release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) intimated that Cazes was indicted after facing court charges that included one count of a conspiracy to commit racketeering, one count of a conspiracy to distribute banned drugs, six counts for the distribution of illicit drugs, one count of the conspiracy to commit identity theft, and four counts of unlawful transfer of false identification papers.
In addition, the now-deceased defendant was accused of trying to commit access device fraud, trafficking device making equipment, and dark web-facilitated money laundering through cryptocurrencies.
Consequently, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. teamed up with a host of their foreign counterparts to freeze the crypto assets belonging to the former AlphaBay founder – the assets ran into the millions of dollars in value owing to the massive scale and profitability that AlphaBay’s operation boasted.
Pursuit to U.S. law concerning the proceeds of crime, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California filed for a forfeiture complaint targeting the defendant and his wife that were traced to different locations across the world. Some of the countries where the couple had tried hiding their wealth included Thailand, Cyprus, Lichtenstein and Antigua & Barbuda.
It turned out that Cazes and his spouse had used proceeds of the AlphaBay market to buy high end assets such as fancy cars, homes and a hotel in Thailand. The AlphaBay founder himself had millions of dollars in crypto to his name – U.S. authorities managed to seize the virtual assets.
Point to note, the information that emerged publicly even before shutdown of the AlphaBay market indicated that the darknet marketplace had become the largest underground site in existence at the time. One of the platform’s members of staff revealed that the market had more than 40,000 vendors dealing in all manner of illicit wares.
Finding a link to AlphaBay can also be done by going to TorTaxi or DarkFail.
Massive Ripple Effects on the Dark Web
Like other major dark web platforms, AlphaBay’s collapse created a ripple effect across the entire underground economy. This reality was well reflected on the user conversations across darknet forums and surface web sites like Reddit.
The outcome of the AlphaBay shutdown provided a clear picture of what exactly happens during law enforcement assaults against dark web markets – former AlphaBay buyers and vendors flocked to Hansa market that was considered the best alternative to fill the vacuum that had been left behind.
Until Hansa gained traction, the market was reported to have more than 24,000 drug listings. The shocking outcome of this massive influx of users from the old AlphaBay created severe technical issues culminating in closure of all new registrations by the market operators.
In addition to Hansa Market, other dark web users sought refuge in Dream Market, which happened to be an older and less reliable site in comparison to Hansa although it boasted a bigger drug catalogue.
Like Hansa, Dream Market took a massive technical hit from the movement of former AlphaBay users to the platform. A number of user complaints surfaced online about login challenges with their old credential to dream Market.
The challenges witnessed in both Hansa and Dream were understandable considering the massive computer resources that are typically demanded with platforms hosted on the dark web.
Expectedly, the events following the law enforcement seizure of Alphabay created room for the rise in scammer cases by people looking to exploit the void that had been left by the absence of the world’s largest dark web platform.
Dream’s instability at the time provided an opportunity for phishing experts to target unsuspecting users. Essentially, the scammers would share phishing links on the dark web market that would be used to trick users into clicking on spoofed websites designed to steal user information and cryptocurrency.
In fact, looking back, one Dream Market user lamented on Reddit that he had found pieces of plastic and glass in marijuana that he had bought from a vendor on the platform.
In addition, an extortionist spent several months trying to extort money from AlphaBay administrators that were being sought by law enforcement. The cybercriminal is reported to have threated to revealed the identity of one of the admins, and went further to release identifying information about them even after receiving hush money from them
This kind of chaos on across the dark web was coupled with divided sentiments about how AlphaBay had been seized by the international law enforcement operation led by U.S. authorities.
While taking into account that the dark web marketplace had leveraged the privacy tools and payment mechanisms of Tor and cryptocurrency respectively, users were left wondering what exactly had gone wrong with the platform’s security mechanisms.
Aside from all the drama, this period may have given rise to open conversations about why the Tor network was not exactly safe in the first place. To date calls for dark web users to choose I2P over Tor have become commonplace, especially whenever law enforcement seizures or distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks happen.
The 2021 Return – A Host of Exciting Attributes
AlphaBay market made a return recently after the four-year break that was brought about by the aforementioned law enforcement seizure of 2017.
Now that the marketplace has made its not-surprising return to the dark web spaces, we’ve all been curious about what it seeks to offer against the shadow of its older self. It turns out that that the new AlphaBay market has been packed with so many good stuff that every user should look out for – the new features center on both user experience and cyber security.
The new AlphaBay borrows from its previous experience of operating a long term, stable and successful dark web market. Such experience goes to ensure that vendors will be able to benefit from streamlined market processes in context of handling, disputing and following up on darknet orders.
AlphaBay’s new network is designed to resist external attacks from third parties. According to reports about the platform’s new capabilities, it will be virtually impossible to take it down because of its nature – even if all servers are found and a miracle law enforcement operation succeeds to close its servers, “sleeper” servers will take over to ensure that the network keeps going.
Importantly, network operators will have zero knowledge about AlphaBay users’ activities and will not be able to view or modify them. All servers are also operating under I2P and Tor in advancement of user anonymity.
The Decentralized Market Network
The decentralized market network project is a network for everyone. It provides marketplace owners with an opportunity to share their brand, and vendors to place set up shop. According to this approach, users will be able to subscribe to different marketplaces and conduct online searches across various sites without the need to register accounts every time.
The decentralized network is the first of its kind in light of unparalleled features and a robust structure. It will solve longstanding dark web issues such as wallet safety from darknet market exit scams, site accessibility (anti-DDoS), and the well-known burden for marketplace admins to upkeep servers and so on.
So far, it appears that the decentralized marketplace project is being funded by AlphaBay user activity (check out the screenshot below).
Shared Account Access
Vendors can now enjoy the benefits of using AlphaBay’s Shared Account Access function to give access to collaborators, including employees and partners, without worrying about Cybersecurity weaknesses.
Essentially, the feature ensures that vendors protect their crypto wallets, PGP keys and PIN from possible alteration by the collaborators – even though these employees and partners will be able to accept/deny/work on orders, answer messages and conduct the day-to-day dark web business activities.
An Automatic Dispute Resolution System (ADR)
The new AlphaBay boasts an automatic dispute resolution system called AlphaGuard, which empowers buyers and vendors with the ability to withdraw their money, settle disputes and current escrows during emergency situations when seizures happen on all servers.
The dispute resolution system will enable users to resolve disputes much, much faster without suffering long waiting times for moderator action. Darknet market functions such as percentage refund, reship/replace, extend escrow have all been automated.
Importantly, the automatic dispute resolution system helps AlphaBay’s moderator view the actionable steps that have been taken in a dispute – all without the risk of having the disputes clogged up.
AlphaBay Affiliate Program
You can make money by joining AlphaBay’s affiliate program. Referring other users to the dark web market can earn you a percentage off the profit that the site makes from every successful transaction via escrow.
AlphaBay claims that it has the highest rates in the dark web
industry, up to 25%, depending on the Trust Level of the referred user.
Point to note, AlphaBay’s affiliate program is accessible to both vendors and buyers. For vendors, the program becomes a great way to earn cash-back on each sale to customers in addition to making money when customers purchase on the marketplace.
Earning Trust on the Market
This feature seems to have been retained from the original version of AlphaBay market.
Trust Level (TL) takes into account many factors extending beyond the purchase volume of individual users. At this point, it not exactly clear about how AlphaBay operators compute the TL figures – the information may have been left out intentionally for reasons stemming from security and copyright.
Essentially, the frequency of user activities on the darknet market happens to be one of the determinants for people looking to earn significant trust levels when buying or selling stuff on AlphaBay.
It turns out that one of the other things that may earn you trust on the market is if you commit to reporting bad listings, vendors, users or spammers to the admin. Quick dispute resolution through the aforementioned AlphaBay ADR system, including the practice of not leaving all orders to auto finalize, will definitely get you in good books with the platform’s staff.
Further, being able to give and received favourable ratings in vendor-buyer engagements will advance your trust level. More TL points are also up for grabs for users who enable high security features for their accounts, including PGP keys and Two-factor authentication (2-FA).
How to Use AlphaBay
The basic requirements before using AlphaBay is having knowledge about anonymity tools and cryptocurrency. As best practice, combining Tor or I2P with a recommended VPN service will ensure that you stay anonymous online.
Once you access the AlphaBay dark web link (provided at the end of this guide) and run it on the Tor address bar, an anti-DDOS firewall will load up as the first thing. You’ll only be able to access AlphaBay’s registration portal after successfully solving the captcha (See below).
Once you manage to solve the captcha, you will be required to register an account before even accessing the AlphaBay landing page. Take note that this aspect differs from other dark web markets that can allow you to browse their sites even before registration.
In addition, unlike other markets that may require you to provide an email address for registration, a username will suffice for AlphaBay.
Once you successfully register an account on AlphaBay, you will now be able to use the platform as a user or a vendor.
How to Buy
- The first step will be to fund your wallet.
You will have to take note of the fact that AlphaBay Market only supports the Monero (XMR) cryptocurrency. The main reason why the market operators chose this crypto over other alternatives is because of its anonymity and lack of traceability.
Point to remember, privacy has been a major concern about virtual assets considering their central application across dark web marketplaces. The structural properties of the Bitcoin cryptocurrency makes it a far less safe option compared to Monero.
Even though Bitcoin transactions are not tied to the personal information belonging to their users, the transactions can be associated with user wallets. This defeats the crypto’s privacy in that experts may easily expose a user’s identity through a number of methodologies.
On the other hand, Monero boasts a stealth address feature that make the virtual currency an idea candidate for darknet transactions. Stealth addresses are one-time addresses that cannot be traced back to the previously used address.
In case you are wondering about how you’ll be able to fund your wallet in order to start using the AlphaBay market, be sure to check out our guide on how to buy Monero.
- You can then browse the AlphaBay homepage and pick a category of your choosing.
In case you want to take an easier route, simply type the item that you want to buy in the “quick search” function (See below).
Otherwise, you can take advantage of the advanced search function that will provide more comprehensive details concerning what you may be looking for. The advantage of using the “advanced search” feature is that you can run more precise searches to meet your specific needs and circumstances (See below).
For instance, filtering results to only display items dispatched from your own country will mean that you will be able to receive what you ordered in good time – picking items in other countries may result in delivery delays owing to the logistical nightmare that may be attributed to such a factor.
- Review the purchase listing carefully.
Once you find the listing that you were looking for, be sure to take a closer look at the details just to ensure that you are dealing with the product of your choice. According to information provided on the AlphaBay site, you need to ensure that the listing type is labelled by the vendor accurately – whether it’s digital or physical.
Importantly, just to avoid issues and potential scammers, do not forget to review the listing’s refund policy just in case you may need to request for a refund owing to unsatisfactory services. In addition, it’s a good idea to also review the vendor’s reputation as indicated on the purchase listing, you can also check vendor reputation on the “listing reviews” section of the Alphabay Market Forum (See below example of a purchase listing).
As a general rule, you are better off dealing with a vendor that uses an escrow system rather than that which is indicated Finalize Early (FE). In fact, even though you may not necessarily get scammed by a listing categorized as FE, AlphaBay does not provide permission to FE checkouts easily. It is critical that you trust a vendor fully before committing to make the crypto payment.
- Choose the quantity of what you are buying and select “Purchase”.
This action will provide a set of information, instructions and safety guidelines concerning the escrow and purchase process. As a buyer, especially for inexperienced users, you are urged to study the information very carefully.
- Confirm your order.
At this point, once you have selected all your options and reviewed details concerning the order you want to make, you’ll confirm your order and was for the vendor to initiate processing. The procedure will be much different from autodispatch though.
- Release Escrow to complete the trade.
As soon as you receive what you ordered for from the vendor, ascertain its quality before releasing the escrow. It is recommended that you release escrow as quickly as possible to ensure that you get good ratings.
On AlphaBay market, if your orders keep autofinalizing, you will be served with a penalty on your Trust Level. The high possibility that the vendor may rate your release time “low” will definitely inflict a dent on your dark web profile – other vendors will be able to note this feedback and avoid accepting orders from you for that reason.
How to Sell
Although the AlphaBay site has provided a link to vendor settings, the web page did not load any information – this may mean that clear information for people looking to become vendors on the dark web market may still be under review.
Otherwise, once you are able to create a listing after attaining full verification and setting a clear refund police, you’ll be able to activate your listing. And begin selling stuff over the marketplace.
OPSEC Tip: Connecting to AlphaBay via I2P
Considering the mention we made about AlphaBay’s promise of ultimate user online privacy and security, the sight highly recommends users and vendors to access the dark web marketplace using I2P instead of Tor for the same reason.
Point to note, TAILS does not work with I2P at the moment as it demands high tech configuration that may turn out to be too intimidating for the average dark web user. The AlphaBay admin promised that they are currently working on TAILS having I2P capability.
Having said that, here are steps for Whonix/ Debian-based flavours (Tor to I2P or clearnet IP to I2P):
- First, you’ll need to run the following code:
sudo apt-get install apt-transport-https -y;wget -q -O – https://repo.i2pd.xyz/.help/add_repo | sudo bash -s -;sudo apt-get update;sudo apt-get install i2pd -y;sudo service i2pd start
The command will install a secure package installation with HTTPS, obtain signing keys as well as import them. In addition, the command will update the requisite packages to recognize any new repository, install I2P Daemon before launching the service.
- In Tor (for anonymous browsing) and the Clearnet’s Firefox browser, typer about:config into the URL section, accept the prompts and press Enter. You will then make the following alterations:
Once that setting is initiated, your browser may restart to apply the changes. Importantly, be sure to apply the following changes where the first option is the setting you’ll need to search and the one following the space represents the value you want to achieve:
Point to note, you will need to wait for about 2 to 5 minutes (this waiting time is dependent on the state of your network) to provide ample time for I2P to connect appropriately – avoid trying to launch the tool immediately as you’ll get an error message reading “host is unreachable”.
From this point, you’ll now be able to visit websites hosted on the I2P network. On the Tor browser or clearnet’s Firefox, it will be critical for you to add http:// right before the I2P site URL.
The other thing to remember is that as you browse I2P sites that are the equivalent of the platforms hosted on Tor’s hidden services, you may encounter a message stating that “ the connection is not secure” – usually seen as http://(insecure) before the URL bar at the top of the browser bar. In such a case, just ignore the message because I2P is end-to-end encrypted whenever you surf the internet.
Wallet Management & Market Fees
The Wallet on AlphaBay market allows vendors and buyers to deposit and withdraw XMR. In case you intend to get XMR in any other way apart from the guide we provided, the alternative would be to employ either of the thousands of crypto swapping platforms for bitcoin or other digital currency.
The AlphaBay market recommends that users send the XMR they acquire to their own XMR wallet rather than using that of a crypto exchange. By doing so, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the privacy coin’s benefits when buying stuff on the dark web.
With that behind us, here are some important instructions for wallet management in the context of AlphaBay market:
You will need to generate as a Monero address to be able to deposit funds and buy stuff on the darknet marketplace.
Once you have generated a Monero address on AlphaBay market, you can only use it once per transaction. Do not attempt sending the same address more than once, be sure to request for a new address to able to deposit your crypto again – deposit addresses are valid for only 7 days from the time you have requested them.
Point to note, after the time window expires, any crypto sent to the invalid address will be lost because they’ll not be linkable to your account. Your Monero address will always get delinked from your account as soon as 10 confirmations are completed within the Monero network. Once this happens, you will be able to spend the deposited funds in the market.
According to the guidelines published on the AlphaBay website, a change has been made concerning the market services that are chargeable to users. It turns out that the crypto mixer that was once free-of-charge will now attract a fee. This decision was made in light of the fact that the market admins decided to impose the charge owing to demands of the automated system.
As such, the mixing fees currently stand at 0.15 percent on every withdrawal. Users who follow the advice of using their own wallet (instead of that hosted by a crypto exchange) can leverage on the feature to automatically mix their coins safely.
Importantly, to ensure that your Monero fees are always calculated correctly during transactions, AlphaBay calculates 1 percent of your requested withdrawal amount. The market does not take that 1 percent but it is only a calculation to ensure there is enough cryptocurrency in a user’s wallet.
For instance: Say your balance is $200 worth of Monero and you intend to make a $200 (in Monero) withdrawal. To cover transaction fees, the Alphabay market system calculates 1 percent – which brings it to $2 from this hypothetical example. The system will then demand $202. The transaction will therefore fail for this reason.
In another example: if your balance is again $200 worth of Monero and you plan to withdraw $199, you’ll need $ 1.99 to take care of the 1 percent transaction fees. The system will then demand $200.99, which will prove to be a successful transaction because the requested amout will be $199.
At this point, AlphaBay will deduct 0.15 percent withdrawal fee from your original requested amount of $199 – the withdrawal fee will come to $0.2985, using the same example. This means that you’ll receive $198.9015 minus any Monero fees which are typically very marginal, the total figure may actually come to $198.
The above figure is achieved by subtracting the withdrawal fee from the original requested amount). The AlphaBay staff will actually round the figure off to $198.90. Point to remember, 1 percent may be left after each transaction but users can also withdraw the amount if they wish to do so.
While this wallet management system may come off as quite confusing, the AlphaBay admin explains that the nature of Monero transactions is such that their fees cannot be pre-calculated as can be done with the Bitcoin cryptocurrency.
The decision to use this method is pegged on the market operators’ desire to avoid charging a flat withdrawal fee considering that the Monero network keeps growing and changing its shape.
For users who may want to delete or abandon their AlphaBay account, they can create a support ticked and the marketplace admin will send them the full amount that was held in their wallet.
To recap, all Monero withdrawal fees are independent from the 0.15 percent withdrawal fee that is charged by AlphaBay market. The final withdrawal amount is calculated as:
Amount Received = Requested Amount – Monero Fees– 0.15 percent of the Requested Amount
AlphaBay market notes that withdrawal charges should be treated on a case-by-case basis. That for the majority of the time, users will not be charged any Monero fees that arise during withdrawal processes. It also advices that you do not pay transaction fees if their 0.15 percent fee can cover transaction fees required by the wallet system to properly mix user funds.
Official Links to AlphaBay Market URL
As of today the official links to the AlphaBay Market are: