A Complete Guide to Using Cartel Marketplace

Cartel Marketplace is a tiny darknet market with a completely unique look, with little less than 2500 product listings at the time of writing this guide. Aside from that, it doesn’t have much to offer, as the majority of large merchants appear content to host their company elsewhere. However, in darknet markets, longevity is king, so if it can get traction and popularity, it may draw business as competitors fail.

Cartel Marketplace’s design is a little cumbersome, but it’s still simple to use. The market itself has all of the standard product listing categories, with nothing unusual of the ordinary, and listings are scattered thin among the many subcategories. Most ads have no purchases as of yet, while listings with more than ten transactions are uncommon. Expect to discover no merchants with hundreds of sales, however Cartel does import sales figures and ratings from other markets.

Aside from its captcha system, which might be a bit annoying, some of the distinctive features of Cartel Marketplace that we discovered were:

  • Split payment orders. Pay for an item using both Bitcoin and Monero.
  • FE discount. Vendors can offer discounts to buyers who agree to pay via Finalize Early.
  • Buyer-oriented dispute resolution service. Dispute admins appear to lean on the side of buyers.
  • Listings by PageRank. Cartel created its own metric of popularity by which listings can be sorted.
  • Hybrid account / order wallet system. Prefund your account or wait until placing an order.

Aside from demonstrating some creativity in the categories indicated above, Cartel Market is very typical, with nothing really noteworthy going on. They take Monero in addition to Bitcoin, which is a plus, however they also use the centralized market wallet approach, which is a little out of date at the moment. Cartel may be in it for the long term, but as with any other darknet market, only time will tell.

Cartel Marketplace Quick Facts

  • Link: mgybzfrldjn5drzv537skh7kgwgbq45dwha67r4elda4vl7m6qul5xqd.onion
  • Founded: 2020
  • Number of listings: 2,500
  • Listing categories: Fraud, Drops, Scans, Drugs & Chemicals, Guides & Tutorials, Counterfeit Items, Digital Products, Other Physical Items, Services, Software & Malware, Security & Hosting
  • Coins accepted: Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR)
  • Multisignature escrow: Yes
  • Finalize Early (FE) Allowed: Yes
  • Vendor bond: $150

Prior to Beginning

It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of some key principles to having a successful darknet market experience. These include the following:

You’ll need to understand the fundamentals of moving cryptocurrency from wallet to wallet. Along with this comes a standard OpSec caution that you should never move coins directly from an exchange to a darknet market. This is especially true with Bitcoin, because the blockchain may readily link your real-life identity to a market like Cartel if you give the exchange your personal information. Even if you are transferring XMR to Cartel, it is preferable to first send it to an intermediary wallet under your control before sending it to the market. This will destroy any direct blockchain connection between you and the market.

If you insist on using BTC (for example, because you don’t have access to XMR, though this isn’t really a legitimate reason to avoid using Monero on a darknet market), consider sending it through a mixer (such as ChipMixer) or a coinjoin-type wallet like Wasabi. This will help you maintain your anonymity in the future.

If you value your privacy, you should only use Tor from a computer that is not linked to your personal identity. This can be accomplished by booting a privacy-oriented operating system, such as Tails OS, from a thumb drive and leaving no trace that your computer ever accessed a Tor website in the first place.

If you don’t know how to use a Tor browser, you should learn how before proceeding. Tor must be used correctly not just to access the market but also to maintain your privacy. Before you may use Cartel Marketplace, you must disable JavaScript in your Tor browser. Even though it is mostly a JavaScript-free marketplace, you should disable JavaScript in your browser before loading Cartel or any other darknet market because it introduces attack vectors that may compromise your OpSec. This can be performed in a variety of methods, the most comprehensive of which is to complete the following:

1. Type “about:config” into the Tor browser address bar.

2. Pass through the warning and click “Show All” to bring up Tor configuration options.

3. Search for the preference named “javascript”.

4. Set the “javscript.enabled” option to “false”.

When you launch the Tor browser, JavaScript is now disabled and will remain so unless you explicitly adjust the settings choice to “true.”

Finally, do not fall prey to phishers. Despite the fact that Cartel Marketplace is a relative newcomer and not quite as popular as some of its competitors, its members are the subject of phishing attempts to obtain their login information. To avoid being phished, only utilize previously stored links or links hosted by a trusted provider and accompanied by a PGP message signed by the marketplace. Don’t click on links offered by random websites, and remember to be picky about who you trust.

How to Make an Account

When you go to the login screen, look toward the bottom, where you’ll find the words “Don’t have an account?” in tiny text beneath the login button. “Sign up.” To begin the registration procedure, click the link.

You must fill out the following fields:

  • Login ID (separate from your username)
  • Public Username (accounts logged in to the market can view this name)
  • Password (use a string of upper and lowercase letters, as well as a number and a special symbol)
  • Confirm Password
  • PIN (6-12 digits, used to place orders, make withdrawals, change PGP key and password)
  • Confirm PIN
  • Login Phrase (displays when you log in to confirm you are at the real market)

Remember to store your login details somewhere safe. You can enable dark mode beneath the Login Phrase text box if you prefer to view websites in that mode. After you’ve completed all of the essential fields and solved the captcha, click “Register” to proceed. If everything goes well, you’ll be taken to the login screen with the statement “Your account has been successfully created.” To enter the market for the first time, enter your Login ID and Password.

You’ll see that you may also specify how long you wish to stay before being automatically logged out from this page.

After clicking to log in, you’ll be taken to the mnemonic screen, which is a 15-word phrase used to restore control of your account if you lose access to it. If you are hacked or forget your password, the site administrators are unlikely to assist you in recovering your site, which is why it is critical to preserve your mnemonic in a secure location.

After you’ve written down your mnemonic elsewhere, re-enter it here, fill out the captcha, and click “Submit” to proceed. You will now be able to access the market.

The first step is to associate a PGP public key with your account. This is required in order to receive encrypted communications from other market participants. If you want to add an extra layer of security to your account, you can use it as a 2-FA technique. To do so, go to the top center of the screen and select the “Account” menu option. Scroll down to the account options until you reach the place where you may paste your PGP public key. When completed correctly, it should appear like this:

After entering your PGP key and PIN, click “Save.” You will be taken back to the Account screen with the message “Please decrypt the code below to validate your key.” At the bottom of the screen is the code containing the message to be decoded. The code itself is a random sequence of characters and digits that should look something like this:

If everything was typed successfully, you will be returned to the Account screen after selecting “Save,” with the message “Your PGP key has been updated.”

Adding Money to Your Account

Cartel Marketplace does not operate in the same way as more current markets do, where deposits are only made to support particular orders. They use the traditional market-based, centralized wallet mechanism instead. These wallets are vulnerable to hacking attempts and are an excellent way for admins to collect funds for an exit scam, therefore we recommend just putting enough funds in them for one order at a time.

Surprisingly, you do not need to fund your wallet before placing an order; instead, you can wait until you check out to fund your account. If you could

Cartel accepts two types of cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR) (XMR). Monero is the more privacy-conscious alternative of the two, as its blockchain does not record potentially identifying information like as addresses and quantities. Monero is more difficult to find, but it can be acquired using Bitcoin on many exchanges.

To fund your account, go to the upper-right corner of the screen and click the BTC or XMR balance, depending on which coin you wish to deposit. For the sake of this instruction, we shall demonstrate how to make a BTC deposit.

The first step will be to generate a deposit address. You can do so by clicking the “Generate a new deposit address” button. After the screen refreshes, you will see the BTC address where you will deposit your funds.

The Bitcoin network will require three confirmations before funds appear in your account balance. Make a different deposit address for each new deposit, as using the same address a second time may result in your account not being credited.

It is worth noting that Cartel allows withdrawals for 0.00026 BTC, which is fairly cheap.

Exploring Cartel Marketplace

Cartel Marketplace appears to be one-of-a-kind, nearly constructed from the ground up. It is still pretty simple to explore and find the goods you are looking for. However, the market currently only has roughly 2500 listings, making Cartel Marketplace one of the lesser darknet sites we’ve examined. The market is segmented into the following groups (and subgroups):

  • Fraud (Accounts & Bank)
  • Drops (CVV & Cards, Dumps, Personal Information)
  • Scans (Other)
  • Drugs & Chemicals (Alcohol, Benzos, Cannabis & Hash, Dissociatives, Ecstasy, Opioids, Prescription, Steroids, Stimulants, Tobacco, Weight Loss, Psychedelics, Other)
  • Guides & Tutorials (Drugs, Fraud, Hacking, Security & Anonymity, Social Engineering, Other)
  • Counterfeit Items (Clothing, Electronics, Jewelry, Money, Fake IDs, Other)
  • Digital Products (Erotica, E-Books, Software, Game Keys, Other)
  • Other Physical Items (Clothing, Electronics, Appliances, Digital, Self Defense, Other)
  • Services (Social Engineering, Carding, Other)
  • Software & Malware (Botnets & Malware, Exploits, Exploit Kits, Security Software, Other)
  • Security & Hosting (Hosting, VPN)

The market is divided into two panels, one for categories and one for product listings, with menu options presented in the middle of the top title bar.

Goods are shown by default based on their PageRank score, a metric devised by Cartel that tracks the popularity of items. By selecting a category or subcategory, you will be sent to its listings, which can be sorted by rating, price, and list date. When you choose the “Advanced Options” box, you can further filter listings by price, ship from, and ship to.

Before placing your first order with a vendor, go to their vendor page by clicking their name on the product listing page. You can see information about their shipping policies, how long they’ve been on Cartel Marketplace, a breakdown of their sales and buyer reviews, and what products they’re presently selling here. You may also see their activity imported from other darknet markets, which will offer you a more complete picture of their vendor experience.

You may also examine a breakdown of the vendor’s Cartel feedback, displaying their good, neutral, and negative trusts acquired through time. For example, the vendor whose page is shown above received 62 positive feedbacks and 1 bad feedback in the last 12 months, indicating that they are a fairly successful vendor. They also have a Trust Level of 10 – the highest such level at Cartel – indicating good sales and positive reviews.

There are three tabs at the bottom of the vendor page. The first, under “About,” contains information left by the vendor about their specific items. The vendor’s PGP key is located on the second tab, and the third tab is labeled “Feedback.” Click this button to view the feedback left by buyers for the vendor. Reading through these feedbacks can teach you a lot about a vendor’s methods and ability.

Always go with the more experienced vendor, even if an inexperienced vendor is selling the same goods for a lower price. By selecting suppliers with strong reputations, you can save a lot of time and headaches from a failed darknet market encounter.

Cartel Marketplace offers only two payment options: Escrow and Finalize Early (FE). The market holds monies in Escrow orders until the buyer releases them to the vendor. When a FE order is marked as shipped, the customer releases the cash to the vendor. As a result, the vendor will be paid sooner. This option should be kept for reputable merchants with a track record of successful orders.

Cartel has an intriguing feature called FE discount. This means that if the buyer agrees to use the Finalize Early option, they will receive a reduction on their order price. Again, only utilize FE if you have complete trust in the vendor with whom you are dealing.

Making a Purchase

When you’ve discovered an item you want to buy, choose the amount you want to buy, the shipping method you want to use, and click “Buy Now” on the item’s listing page.

From here, you may examine the order total and choose whether to pay in BTC or XMR (most vendors accept both). This is followed by a section called “Notes to Vendor,” where you will enter the encrypted version of your shipping details. There is an option under the text box to encrypt the information for you, but it is preferable to do it yourself. Cartel makes it as simple for you as possible by presenting the vendor’s PGP key just beneath the vendor remarks field. Import the vendor’s PGP key into your PGP client and use it to encrypt your shipping information before pasting it into the box.

When shipment information is successfully encrypted, it should look like this:

Don’t forget to enter your PIN and the captcha before clicking the green “Place Order” button. You will be taken to the order confirmation screen after proceeding. If your account was already funded, the order amount will be deducted from your balance, and the vendor will get a notification indicating that they can begin processing your transaction. If you haven’t yet funded your account, you’ll be given a payment address to which you’ll deposit the BTC amount stated on the screen.

If the payment is not confirmed by the network within 72 hours, the order will be reset and you will have to start over. When payment is discovered, the order is registered as paid, and the seller begins preparing it for shipment.

When it comes to FE orders, the sale should be finalized once the vendor has marked the item as sent. Wait until you have received the order before releasing payments to the vendor for standard escrow orders. You can view order statuses by selecting the “Orders” menu option in the top centre of the screen.

If you receive your item and it is not what you expected, or if you do not receive it at all, you can open a disagreement, and a Cartel dispute moderator will look into the issue. Cartel appears to be more ready to side with the buyer than other marketplaces, based on the information provided in the Dispute section of their FAQ. Once a dispute is launched, merchants can choose to refund 75% or 100% of the order; a dispute admin will only consider refunding a smaller amount if a good cause is provided.

Summary

Cartel Marketplace is a new market with few listings and dealers but a lot of creativity. Depending on the ability of the administrators, it has the potential to go far and could see significant growth in 2021. While they do not allow multisig escrow transactions, they do give the option of simply depositing on order, and they also accept Monero as a payment option.

Overall, Cartel possesses the majority of the components required to establish a world-class darknet market service, but they have a long way to go before being embraced by a large-scale audience. Also are not only mostly unknown at the moment, but they have a long way to go before building a significant level of credibility within the community.

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