One of the Darknet’s Largest Markets Is Allegedly Pulling an Exit Scam

Francisco Memoria

The Apollon market, one of the darknet’s largest markets, is seemingly pulling an exit scam on its users as it has locked the accounts of every vendor on the platform while still allowing users to order from them.

The Apollon market was reportedly established sometime in 2018 and has been running ever since, but in the last few days several vendors have revealed they were locked out of their accounts and couldn’t even recover access with mnemonic phrases or by contacting the market’s admins.

On Dark.Eye, a deep web service where users can give other websites ratings and leave comments for others, Apollon’s rating is slightly above one star, and users are warning others they’re locked out of their accounts and can’t access them. One user wrote:

Mods are stealing from vendors and then locking them out of their accounts. claiming you were phished. we only used the vendor URL and used 2FA so how is that possible. We were locked out of our account after calling out the mods... Stay away from this market.

Another vendor claimed to have lost $11,000 worth of cryptocurrency because of the exit scam. Users often warn each other about these situations via Dread, a Reddit-style forum on the deep web, but it has been offline for the past few days over an alleged Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

DarkNetStats, a website dedicated to deep web-related news, claims the market was owned by a group that controls several other markets, while implying Dread is offline because the group is actively preventing victims from coordinating.

As CryptoGlobe reported, blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis has revealed earlier that darknet markets sold over $790 million worth of cryptocurrency last year, making it the first year sales surpassed $600 million. While the transactions on these markets account for less than 1% of all total cryptocurrency transactions, they have seemingly been growing.

Chainalysis’ report notes that when law enforcement shuts down one market another one moves to satisfy customer demand, and that these platforms aren’t heavily influenced by cryptocurrency price movements, as transaction activity to darknet markets remained in a relatively narrow range throughout the year.

Featured image via Pixabay.