Following the demise of the Silk Road – the world’s first modern darknet market – a number of successors took its place and the illegal sale of illicit goods continued. Now, one of the most popular dark web marketplaces, Wall Street Market, is involved in a $30 million exit scam.
In this, the perpetrators are blackmailing the marketplace’s existing customers by threatening to share their details with law enforcement agencies, unless they send them 0.05 Bitcoin (BTC).
$30M in Bitcoin Stolen
According to a report from SiliconAngle, users of the illicit marketplace first reported issues with the marketplace’s Bitcoin server last week, where both buyers and sellers couldn’t access their funds.
As with most darknet marketplaces, buyers place their funds in an escrow account, which is then released to the vendor after a period of time. In the Wall Street Market case, the escrow account contained $30 million in Bitcoin, which has been transferred out to external wallets.
Users on a dark web forum managed to trace the funds to an external wallet before they were split up and sent to many different Bitcoin wallets over and over again. The thieves used a Bitcoin mixer, which mixes Bitcoin transactions many times, thus making it much more difficult if not impossible to trace.
Ultimately, the customer funds will never be returned, even if found by law enforcement agencies, due to the marketplace’s illegal operations.
61 darknet vendors have been arrested in raids by the US Federal Bureau since March, which led to other darknet markets shutting down. Because of this, people are speculating the marketplace operators took the money and got out while the getting was good.
Do you think blockchain investigators will be able to track the stolen $30M in Bitcoin funds? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.