White House Market Is Officially Retiring
One of the biggest dark web marketplaces, White House Market (WHM), officially announced its retirement on October 1st, 2021.
“We have reached our goal and now, according to plan, it’s time to for us to retire. Effective immediately user registration and ordering have been disabled, everything else (yes, withdrawals included) is working as usual.”
In the darknet market scene, most markets usually run away with user funds (commonly known as an exit scam) or go offline after a law enforcement operation. In the case of White House Market, the market is “graciously” leaving the scene whilst finalizing orders. This is unusual, to say the least.
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WHM launched in August 2019 and heavily dominated the darknet market scene during its 2 years of operation. In the darknet community, WHM was known for its robust security practices such as enforcing all communication through PGP and only accepting XMR for transactions At the time of their retirement, WHM had 49,352 active listings, about 3,450 active sellers, and a whopping 819,490 order feedbacks. It is safe to say their absence will leave a major hole in the darknet market economy.
Now one question remains: Where will buyers and users flock to?
As we all know, the shutting down of a market never slows down the darknet economy, it’s only a matter of knowing where transactions will take place next.
In White House Market’s goodbye letter the market suggested users to migrate to some specific types of darknet markets. The market commented , “ any market can disappear at any time and for whatever reason (exit scam, law enforcement operation, hack, technical issue and so on) but markets like Monopoly (true wallet-less, direct deal) and Versus (enforced multisig) greatly minimize damage. You can also give a chance to new markets, we all have to start somewhere.”
In addition to WHM’s recommendation, we have also seen an uptick in AlphaBay’s popularity.
Last month saw the sudden revival of AlphaBay Market, an immensely popular market back in its glory days (2014-2017). AlphaBay’s online presence came to an abrupt stop after a Law Enforcement operation tracked down the market’s administrator and the servers on which the market was hosted.
At its prime, AlphaBay was ten times the size of its predecessor, Silk Road (which was busted in October 2013). The market had over 369,000 listings, 400,000 users, was facilitating US$600,000-$800,000 of transactions per day, and had reportedly built a strong reputation.
Now that AlphaBay’s ex-administrator DeSnake has relaunched the famous darknet marketplace, is WHM’s retirement the push he needed to bring AlphaBay back to the level they were in their glory days? Some Dread users seem to think so.
One thing is for certain, AlphaBay Market saw the opportunity and acted on it by waiving the vendor registration fee for any vendors who are migrating from WHM.
After DarkMarket shut down earlier this year we predicted and witnessed the rise of WHM. As WHM has now shut down, we will of course be monitoring who will become the new leader of the darknet. Darknet marketplaces are an important hub when it comes to all things fraud related and we will ensure that we provide the greatest visibility of these marketplaces for the best prevention we can offer.