A Comprehensive Guide to the Cypher Market

This guide will teach you all you need to know about connecting to Cypher Market on the darknet.

Cypher Market, founded in February 2020, is a wallet-less escrow darknet market that accepts both Bitcoin and Monero. The market does not have on-site wallets where money are centralized, but rather single-use addresses for each order, and cash for completed orders are always sent directly to the vendor’s payout address. This reduces the possibility of an attack or exit scam to some extent because there is never a single, large pool of user funds that can be stolen or confiscated.

Sadly, even after two years of existence, Cypher Market hasn’t attracted many top-tier suppliers, however there are several scattered among significant geo-markets around the world. For whatever reason, many sellers have failed to make a single transaction, giving the impression that the market is either dead or overrun with green vendors. The normal options that allow you to narrow down results are missing, but because Cypher is rather thin on listings, scrolling through categories isn’t too difficult.

Cypher Market has relatively permissive standards, merely prohibiting sales of normally illegal things, and we welcome their decision to prohibit the catch-all “anything that is detrimental to humans.” “We launched our own market after seeing everyone getting scammed so many times by what appears to be the same bunch of guys with the same M.O.,” the Cypher admin said on the Dread darknet forum. “Grow quickly and exit when it becomes too large.” This implies that the market is operated by independent thinkers who appear to be skilled enough to attract some big-name suppliers from around the world.

Despite its clunky and basic look, Cypher Market has certain unique characteristics that set it different from other darknet markets. For example, the Top Vendors in the market are presented on the top page, beneath a series of Featured Listings. Parallel to the Top Vendors is a list of “Latest Orders,” which allows you to see the market’s most popular listings right now. We also enjoy that it has a ‘Dark Mode’ setting for people who prefer an easier-on-the-eyes UI.

Overall, Cypher does the job, however it isn’t as easy to use or as visually appealing as some of its competitors. When the range of markets is limited, they may appear to be a fair alternative for those who need to do some shopping but do not have a regular site to do so. We advocate only dealing with experienced merchants in this market, whose names you may remember from other places. This piece of advice, coupled with excellent OpSec and constantly encrypting your own data, are things you can do to improve your chances of success when placing an order on Cypher Market.

Cypher Market Fundamentals

  • Cryptocurrencies accepted: Bitcoin (BTC), Monero (XMR)
  • Total Product/Service listings: 4,000
  • Listing Categories: Guides & Tutorials, Other Listings, Counterfeits, Hosting & Security, Software & Malware, Drugs
  • Multi-signature escrow? No
  • Finalize Early? Yes (given to vendors with over 250 completed sales)
  • Cost of vendor bond: $250 (waived for established vendors)

Prior to Beginning

Before attempting to use Cypher Market or any other darknet market, there are some concepts you should first be familiar with:

  • Cryptocurrency transacting. You must know how to send and receive cryptocurrencies to use Cypher; principally Bitcoin and Monero. We recommend always using Monero when possible as the obfuscated nature of its blockchain makes transactions much harder to trace.
  • PGP encryption. You must know how to encrypt and decrypt messages using PGP. Though Cypher Market says they will auto-encrypt the buyer’s shipping information if the buyer forgets to do it themselves, transmitting sensitive information that is unencrypted is always a big OpSec no-no. Be sure to learn how to do this for yourself as it is considered a must-do for any darknet market user.
  • The Tor browser. You must have the Tor browser installed in order to connect to sites that end in “.onion”, which is everything considered to be on the “dark web”. You should also know how to use Tor in such a way that your privacy is best maintained. This includes never running Tor over a VPN, and always updating the browser to the latest version.

Disclaimer: This guide is intended for research purposes only and should not be taken as legal or other advice. The authors of this handbook do not support unlawful conduct in your jurisdiction or others. You use the information in this tutorial and/or Cypher Market at your own risk.

Don’t Be Duped

Though Cypher Market is a smaller site, it is nonetheless the target of impersonation attempts, meaning phishers hoping you will log in with your genuine credentials. Making deposits on these scam sites is the most common way for users to lose money while attempting to make an order on a darknet market. To reduce this risk, only use confirmed URLs and never receive URLs from random locations on the open web (such as Reddit, Twitter, etc.).

This is a screenshot from the Cypher Market itself, which should look the same every time you try to log in:

Making an Account

Cypher’s account registration process differs from that of other darknet markets in that it is extremely straightforward. To begin, look for the “Sign Up” button in the upper-right corner of the screen. If you can’t see it, click on the box with the lines in it and then choose “Sign Up.” However, once you reach the account creation screen, the process is fairly straightforward, requiring only the entry of a username and password (twice).

Enter a unique username that is not linked to any other accounts and a strong password (at least 8 characters long, consisting of letters, numbers, and special symbols). Then fill out the captcha and click “Sign Up.” On the following screen, you will be given a 24-word mnemonic.

This mnemonic acts as a form of username/password combination, allowing you to recover access to your account if you are locked out. After you’ve copied it and saved it somewhere safe, click “Proceed to Sign In.” You will now be routed to the sign-in screen, where you can log in using your newly established username and password. And there you have it! You can now begin browsing Cypher Market.

Specifying a Refund/Payout Address

After creating your account and logging in for the first time, you will be sent to the Settings screen. This is due to the market’s preference that you first create a Refund and/or Payout address before placing an order. To begin, change the Settings tab from Change Password (which is the default) to Refund/Payout Address. We will configure this account for XMR purchases because we suggest utilizing Monero (XMR) wherever possible.

Copy and paste your XMR address into the supplied field, then click “Change/add address.” You will then see a notification stating, “You have successfully changed your address!” If you place an order and pay for it, and the order is cancelled, not received, or is not to your liking, your order payment will be refunded to this address.

Making a PGP Key

This is the next step you must do before placing an order since it allows vendors and/or other market participants to communicate sensitive information with you. To do so, go to the Settings page’s left column and select the PGP Key menu item.

Then, in the New PGP Key text box, paste your PGP public key. When entered correctly, it should appear like this:

To proceed, click “Add PGP.” You will next be prompted to validate your PGP key ownership by decrypting a message encrypted with it. Copy the full message text box and decode it using your PGP software (such as Kleopatra, GPG, etc.). Then copy and paste only the Validation Number piece into the corresponding text field.

After you’ve pasted the number, confirm by clicking “Validate PGP.” You will be taken back to the PGP settings screen, but this time a PGP key will be displayed in the Your PGP Key area. You are now prepared to start placing orders.

While it is not essential, you may want to set up 2-FA on your account. Enabling this option, which can also be accessible in the Settings section, will require you to decrypt a message encrypted with your PGP public key every time you log in to the market. This is a fantastic idea if you want to ensure that only you have access to your account.

Making a Down Payment

The standard, central wallet method employed by most other marketplaces is not utilised by Cypher Market. As a result, no initial deposit is required before placing an order. Buyers transfer funds to a preset address to cover the cost of one order at a time, rather than depositing funds into a market account balance. The market releases payments to the vendor after the customer has concluded the order.

Exploring the Cypher Market

Cypher is a mid-sized darknet market with slightly more than 4,000 listings that looks to have been created from scratch. Any new Cypher user will note immediately once that the market is not attractive or easy to explore. Despite its cosmetic flaws, it nevertheless operates and accomplishes its purpose if used correctly.

Listings are divided into the following categories (and subcategories):

  • Guides & Tutorials (Fraud, Hacking, Carding)
  • Other Listings
  • Counterfeits (Clothing, Money, IDs)
  • Hosting & Security (Socks & Proxies, Hosting & Domains, VPN)
  • Software & Malware (Software, License Keys, Exploit Kits, Botnets & Malware, Rats & Trojans, Digital Goods)
  • Drugs (Dissociatives, Ecstasy, Tobacco, Prescriptions, Benzodiazepines, Cannabis & Hashish, Stimulants, Opiates, Steroids, Psychedelics)

The most popular category on Cypher, as with most darknet marketplaces, is Drugs, which contains more than half of the market’s listings at any given moment. By default, clicking on a listing category will give a grid view of items, which may be converted to a list view if you wish to see additional details about each listing.

The basic grid view displays the product name, price, vendor name, and vendor level (higher level Means more experienced vendor). Hovering over the product name reveals the complete name, and clicking on it displays additional information about it.

Here we can see:

  • a bigger photo of the product,
  • the product’s full title,
  • the product quality rating left by buyers,
  • the product type (physical or digital),
  • variable quantity and pricing info,
  • coins accepted,
  • quantity in stock / sold, and
  • delivery methods.

In the right column, you can see some basic facts about the vendor, such as their vendor level (experience level), customer feedback breakdown (Positive, Neutral, Negative), and buttons to write the vendor a note or view their whole line of listings. Clicking on the vendor’s name will take you to their market page.

We can see advanced information about the vendor here, such as FE status, Trusted status (awarded to a vendor after completing a certain number of successful orders), and feedback scores for quality, communication, and shipping. Below this is a section where the vendor can leave information for their purchasers, as well as a PGP tab that allows simple access to the vendor’s PGP public key (you will want to copy and paste this key into your PGP utility if you plan on placing an order from them). All of the vendor’s current listings are shown beneath this for easy browsing.

Making a Purchase

When you’ve found an item you want to buy, go to the category page and click the “Buy Now” option. Next, choose your preferred shipping method, payment method (BTC or XMR), and quantity (Amount). Then, from the item page, click the “Add to Cart” button to begin the order placement procedure. You will then be taken to the Cart screen.

While the Address text field indicates that the market will encrypt your shipping information for you, you should still do this manually. As previously stated, the vendor’s PGP key may be located on their vendor page, near the bottom, in a separate tab labeled “PGP.” When you paste the encrypted shipping information, it will look like this:

Then, click “Save” to save the encrypted address to the order. The screen will reload. If you are satisfied with the total amount to be paid and everything else, click the “Checkout” button to proceed. You will be taken to a single order confirmation screen. To proceed, click “Purchase.” You will then be sent to the Purchases screen, which looks like this:

To begin the payment procedure, click on the title of your order (under Product). This will display the screen for your specific purchase, along with a Purchase ID and total price. Scroll down until you reach the Payment section. The market will remind you to double-check that you are on a valid URL. Below that, it will show you the amount to be paid in your chosen cryptocurrency.

We can see the amount to be paid (0.35846587 XMR) as well as the address to which the payment will be sent (starts with 4K…). If you intend to make a payment using a mobile device, you can also scan the supplied QR code. Before the order is cancelled, you will have 24 hours to complete payment. The blockchain confirms orders after two confirmations.

As previously stated, payments are made by order, which means you only need to provide enough funds to cover one item at a time. This type of “wallet-less escrow” method has benefits, but it is the only escrowed payment option accessible. The third option, which is only available to vendors with extensive Cypher knowledge, is FE. After the buyer marks a FE order as completed, the funds are released directly to the vendor.

Notice how beneath the payment QR code there is a series of order-specific States:

  • Purchased
  • Sent
  • Delivered
  • Disputed
  • Canceled

After you have paid for the item, the seller will be notified of your order and will begin preparing it. Funds must be issued to the vendor as soon as this status is updated to Sent for FE orders (such as the one in this example). Payment should be paid once the order has been delivered for all other orders.

If your order does not arrive or is not what you expected, you can open a dispute from the Purchases page. This will need you informing the dispute moderator of what occurred. They will next ask the merchant for their version of the story and weigh both sides before making a decision. Of course, we encourage avoiding disagreements at all costs, which can be accomplished by working with trustworthy (trusted) vendors who have a fair-to-large amount of expertise. This refers to vendors rated at Level 3 or higher by Cypher Market.

If you are satisfied with your order, please mark it as received so that funds can be paid to the vendor as soon as possible. This is regarded standard darknet market etiquette, and failing to do so may result in you being blacklisted from future order placement by the same vendor.

Cypher Market URL – http://6c5qaeiibh6ggmobsrv6vuilgb5uzjejpt2n3inoz2kv2sgzocymdvyd.onion/

Summary

Cypher Market is a lesser-known darknet market that has recently acquired considerable interest as a result of the shutdown of certain prominent other marketplaces in the first two months of 2022. While its interface lacks much to be desired, it delivers all of the necessary capabilities for anyone to conduct a secure darknet market purchase. This, of course, entails doing everything possible to protect yourself, such as encrypting all correspondence with PGP and severing any links between your offline and online identities.

We like that Cypher accepts XMR and uses the per-order (Direct Pay, sometimes known as “wallet-less escrow”) mechanism, which reduces the possibility of an exit scam (though still not removing it entirely). We also enjoy that they are reachable on the Dread darknet forum and appear eager to assist their users in having the best experience possible. With a relatively low vendor bond of $250, you’d think they’d have more participants, and perhaps they will in the near future since that some of the prominent markets of 2021 have closed.

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