Since August 22, the Empire Market darknet site has stopped serving users and is still unavailable. It is assumed that the site administrators could have misappropriated about 2,638 BTC.
Darknetstats employee John Marsh suggested that Empire Market management may have misappropriated user assets of 2,638 BTC, but this figure may not be accurate. At the same time, large movements of funds using the service’s wallets have not yet been noticed.
On Tuesday, the main moderator of Empire Market, working under the pseudonym “Se7en”, confirmed the inoperability of the site on the Dread forum. He is sure that the Empire Market shutdown does not mean an exit scam – in this case, users would have the opportunity to make deposits within a few weeks, but they would not be able to withdraw funds.
Marsh considers this to be an “unplanned” closure of the site, since BTC could still be withdrawn on 22 August. He said that after launching in 2018, Empire Market was subjected to DDoS attacks several times, and the creators of the site were forced to pay hackers from $10,000 to $15,000 per week to keep the site running smoothly. As a result, the site could “simply cease its activities.”
According to a study by The Block journalist Steven Zheng, darknet sites prefer to work with BTC and XMR, while ETH is not particularly popular among such platforms. It was also revealed last month that darknet users are using Bitcoin’s transaction mixing services more often.