The environment of darknet marketplaces has shifted dramatically this year, with users now paying close attention to evidence of market health and indications of long-term goals. Of course, there is no single strategy for discovering the perfect darknet market or one that will meet your demands in the long run, but there are hints that consumers can look for.
In this article, we compare and evaluate eight of the largest English-language darknet markets that are regarded as at least somewhat trustworthy by the larger community and its specialists, including residents and architects of the Dread forum, as well as Darknet Live, tor taxi, and dark fail. We analyze the markets using 11 different variables to assist you get a better understanding of which market could be best for you, so you can potentially save time during your ordering process.
Overview of Markets
The first is a quick-and-dirty comparison of our eight markets, listing the year they opened, the total number of vendors, total listings supported, the relative size of the community, ease of access (some markets are DDOSed more frequently than others, or respond better to attacks than others), whether they support Direct Pay (per-order payments), and whether they support Bitcoin multisignature payments.
|Market Name||Opened||Vendors||Total Listings||Community||Access||Direct Pay?||Multi-Sig?|
Following that, we present a quick overview of the eight darknet markets selected for comparison. They all have certain similarities that may not have existed even a year ago. For starters, they now all support Monero (XMR). They also have a dispute resolution mechanism, offer Finalize Early (FE) to qualifying vendors, and are listed on a recognized link provision service (such as darknetlive, dark fail, tor taxi, or Dread). They have all been in operation with some consistency for at least a year and are listed alphabetically.
Abacus is now inaccessible owing to a large-scale DDOS that has rendered most of its mirrors inoperable. Nonetheless, the market continues to function, and when a user connects, they will discover a vast array of listings. It is one of the rare markets where a significant number of sellers have enabled multisignature purchases (available for 266 listings, currently). Abacus also allows various levels of FE (100%, 75%, 50%, and 25%), so you don’t have to give the entire amount of cash to the vendor before obtaining your item.
AlphaBay is still the king of darknet markets, as it was in its previous existence. In many ways, it’s far better than the previous time, but in a few ways, it’s even worse. For one thing, loading the market page can take a long time, and messing up the market’s rather weak captcha can add minutes to the login procedure. One of the fascinating features that sets AlphaBay apart from the competition is its damage reduction program, in which popular postings are independently tested and reviewed by a small group of program members. This can be extremely useful in determining the quality of listings.
Despite leaving Dread around six months ago due to disagreements with forum staff and administration, Archetyp continues to operate fairly regularly and maintains its own forum. The market’s DDOS filtering technology is basic yet effective, and as a result, it has a high uptime. Archetyp is a drugs-only and XMR-only market that has been online for over two years and has suppliers primarily from the EU and North America (no Aussie or South American vendors). Archetyp is simple, to-the-point, and free of clutter, giving buyers a streamlined buying experience.
ASAP has been in business for a little over two years and has amassed a devoted following of loyal customers who swear by its dependability. Its success, however, has not gone unnoticed, and it is now the focus of continual DDOS and other attacks. In response, the market has lately created its own revolving mirror service. Only AlphaBay rivals ASAP in terms of scale, and it offers a massive selection of listings in all of the most popular categories. This also features the most diverse assortment of digital items of any market, many of which are available for immediate purchase. It accepts both BTC and XMR as payment methods.
Bohemia, which was founded in mid-2021, recently had a massive renovation, making it a highly competitive market. It is presently the only darknet market that accepts both BTC multisignature and Direct Pay for XMR. Logging into the market can be difficult because it takes three captchas, but DDOS attacks had previously rendered the market mostly inaccessible. Bohemia has a large number of entries, over one-third of which are in their Cannabis area, which is set to become its own market in the future (to be known as Cannabia). Dread also has a rather active community.
Incognito, which opened for business in early 2021, is a medium-sized, drugs-only market that has seen tremendous growth in 2022, with its total number of listings jumping six-fold since the start of the year. While it does not accept per order payments, it does allow you to lock in a price at checkout so that you simply need to deposit the exact amount to cover the transaction. This is equivalent to having a multisig or Direct Pay option. The market itself is a little clunky, suffers from DDOS assaults, and navigating is difficult, but it gets the job done and is usually regarded as trustworthy.
Royal Market, which is approaching its second birthday, is currently one of the more established marketplaces that is rarely discussed and often goes unnoticed by the darknet market community. This is due in part to the fact that it does not have a presence on Dread and is not linked to dark fail or tor taxi. Nonetheless, it retains an active user base and offers a diverse range of product listings. With a $1000 vendor bond for new vendors, Royal keeps out the riff-raff, resulting in fewer scams. It also includes a good collection of market tutorials for individuals who want to get the most out of their buying experience.
Tor2Door, another newer market that is currently suffering from a devastating wave of DDOS attacks, has developed by leaps and bounds in 2022 and enjoys the backing of a dedicated and engaged community. It is one of the few markets that supports multisignature BTC transactions, albeit this feature is not generally used by its suppliers. Tor2Door has a solid reputation for being trustworthy and treating disputes fairly and consistently.
By far the market with the most vendors (as well as reliable, well-known merchants) is AlphaBay, which has 12,696 dealers of various products (both physical & digital). Despite the fact that many were hesitant to trust it when it returned in August 2021, AlphaBay has shown to be an outstanding site for sellers to conduct business, and thousands of people have flocked to it in 2022.
The runner-up for vendor selection is ASAP, which does not provide a vendor count on their website but may have a larger total number of vendors than AlphaBay. ASAP has the most product listings of any market in our comparison (50,650 as of the writing of this article), however many of these are duplicates found in digital item-related areas.
Cannabis & related products
These are listings in categories (and subcategories) denoted by the words “Cannabis,” “Hash,” “Marijuana,” and so on. ASAP is the clear winner in this category, with almost 14,400 separate listings for cannabis-related products. Buds & Flowers (7042 listings), Concentrates (2640), Edibles (1170), Hash (1910), Other (131), Prerolls (107), Seeds (31), Shake (234), Synthetic (50), and Topicals & Others are the subcategories (12).
Bohemia comes in second with 12,560 entries, followed by AlphaBay with 12,040 listings.
These are listings from the category “Stimulants,” which typically includes amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine, and a few additional CNS-stimulating medicines. ASAP and AlphaBay have about 8000 entries each, tying for the most total listings in this category. ASAP offers more sections for such postings than AlphaBay, but unlike AlphaBay, they also accept BTC, making it the market of choice for individuals who prefer to pay for their orders in Bitcoin.
Interestingly, Incognito has the highest proportion of Stimulants goods relative to its entire number of listings, with about 4000 options, accounting for approximately 28% of its total listings.
These are Ecstasy or MDMA entries, which may also include comparable analogs such as MDA and less prevalent phenylethylamines. ASAP wins yet again in this area, with 3330 listings spread across 5 subcategories (MDA, MDMA, Methylone & BK, Other, and Pills). Because several ASAP products are likely to be cross-listed, it’s also worth investigating Bohemia for this category, which ranks second with 3210 entries. Bohemia accepts Direct Pay for orders, whereas ASAP employs the classic account wallet system.
Finally, when looking for MDMA-related products, check out Royal Market, which has 2440 entries divided throughout 5 category (with the exact same names as ASAP).
These are drugs that are commonly classified as “Psychedelics,” which include LSD, mushrooms, mescaline (ayahuasca), 2-CB, LSA, and DMT. We recommend checking out ASAP and AlphaBay for products in this category because they both have approximately 3400 entries. We like ASAP’s clean categorization of these compounds into seven groups, which include 2-CB (710 listings), DMA / DOX (14), DMT (277), LSA (2), LSD (1925), Mescaline (49), and Shrooms (714). This collection is hard to beat, especially if you utilize Bitcoin.
With around 3000 psychedelics postings, Bohemia is an excellent choice for people who like to pay using multisig (although most vendors do not support multisig). Furthermore, Abacus ranks second for multisig markets, with 2500 in this category, and Tor2Door ranks third.
These include items from categories devoted to prescription medications approved for use by the FDA or comparable agencies in other countries. AlphaBay has 2100 prescription medicine listings, followed by Bohemia, which has 1840 listings. We select Bohemia for this category since their medications are neatly arranged into six subcategories (Sleeping Pills, Sexual Medication, Sedatives, Painkillers, Muscle Relaxers, and Others). Unlike AlphaBay, Bohemia also enables Direct Pay, which is more convenient than initially depositing funds into an account wallet.
ASAP is the clear runner-up in this category, with slightly more than 1500 listings, while Abacus comes in second with 1100 prescription listings.
These contain listings from regularly labeled “Digital Items” categories, but also software, malware, and occasionally hacking tools (databases, credit card details and guides have been omitted). Royal Market has the most digital things, with over 4600 unique entries, including gift cards, e-books, fraudulent software, legitimate software, game keys, guides, lessons, and more. They also feature over 4500 listings for fraud-related merchandise including carding and social engineering services. Royal Market also accepts Direct Pay for some items, making the checkout procedure even easier.
ASAP Market is the runner-up in this category, followed by Bohemia and Abacus.
These are categories that are unique to each market, potentially containing listings that can’t be found on other markets. Not all markets covered in this comparison have such categories.
- Abacus: “Psychedelics – Other RCs” – Abacus has a special category dedicated to psychedelic recreational chemicals, which are substances that are psychoactive but fall in a grey area legally as they haven’t been scheduled in much of the world. Currently 100 listings in all, here you will find obscure chemicals that are analogs of well-known substances, such as MDMA, amphetamine, Ritalin, and mephedrone. They are usually at a discounted price relative to their more-famous counterpart.
- AlphaBay: “Automotive-related items” – as the name suggests, these are items that relate to autos in specific; namely stolen vehicle parts and vehicle identification numbers (as well as the frames which contain them). It’s a tiny category in terms of listings which is highly-specific and seems only relevant to US-based customers, but it will be interesting to see if listings ever get placed in the currently-empty “Stolen Vehicles” subcategory.
- ASAP: “Weight Loss” – Although a few other markets have similar categories, ASAP has the most listings for this particular area of drug — currently 60 in total. Weight loss medications currently listed there include Phentermine, Clenbuterol, Salbutamol, Thermolipid, Slimex, and Adipex, among others.
- Bohemia: “Digital Items – Gaming” – That’s right: Bohemia sports its own Gaming section within the main Digital Items category, which has a surprising number of items. Unfortunately, very few of them are actually related to games as there seems to be a lack of quality control among digital listings on the market. Still worth checking out though if you are ever interested in purchasing a game with crypto at a discount.
- Royal Market: “Drug Recipes” – Though items potentially falling into this category can sometimes be found in the Guides section of various markets, Royal Market hosts their own section for them. The scant number of listings in this category are all modestly priced, making them affordable for those who want to attempt to be their own chemist or have simply wondered how certain drugs are manufactured.
Direct Pay markets
Only two of the eight markets examined in this comparison enable Direct Pay, which are payments made per order rather than to a market account wallet. This spares the buyer the trouble of having to pre-fund a wallet with an amount that may or may not correspond to the cost of the item they want to buy. Bohemia and Royal Market are the two markets that accept Direct Pay. The larger of the two is Bohemia. Both markets accept BTC and XMR as payment. Unless it is a multisig order, which is only enabled by Bohemia, funds are still held by market escrow once paid.
Incognito is a third option that lets the buyer to lock in a purchase at a specific price for 30 minutes. This means that the buyer is aware of the precise amount of coin that must be deposited into their account wallet.
Multisig Pay markets
Three of the aforementioned eight markets accept multisignature BTC payments, which implies that the buyer sends funds for an order to a BTC address owned by three signatories: the buyer, the seller, and the market. A transaction must be approved by two of the three signatories. This ensures that the buyer will be able to get their money back if something goes wrong with their order. Furthermore, it means that funds can still be repaid to the buyer or seller if the market goes down for any reason.
Abacus, Bohemia, and Tor2Door are the three markets that enable this option. Tor2Door appears to have the highest concentration of vendors ready to employ this option of the three. It is highly recommended for larger transactions ($500+).
A thriving community is an indication of a reliable market. Many markets have their own forum, albeit some are barely ever used. To determine the strength of a market’s community, look at the size and activity of its community on the Dread darknet forum. AlphaBay and ASAP have the largest communities in this regard, with multiple posts made to the market’s various subdreads on a daily basis. Tor2Door also has a thriving Dread community, followed by Bohemia and Abacus. It’s always a good idea to look into a market’s subdread before opting to invest in it.
To summarize, there is no single way to determine which darknet market is the “greatest,” as different consumers value certain features and traits more than others. In general, the darknet market community and its experts regard the eight markets mentioned above as at least fairly trustworthy. However, depending on what is most important to you, you may find one or more to be significantly more useful than the others.
When placing a deposit on any market, we recommend always exercising care and assuming the worse. This includes making an unintentional deposit on a phishing site, placing an order with a sham merchant, or the market abruptly quitting or closing down. These issues can be prevented by always using reliable market links, dealing with trusted vendors, and never depositing more than you can afford to lose.