Well, sort of. There’s a site by the name of AlphaBay Market | News, Reviews and How to Use AlphaBay that gives information about the infamous market, but you can’t actually buy any products from there.
They do, however, offer a direct link to the actual market that you can access, particularly if you’re viewing it from the Tor browser: AlphaBay Market. (NOTE: just because I’m offering the link does not mean I advocate buying narcotics; do so at your own risk!!)
In a sense, this site has a few things in common with my friends Deep Dot Web and Dark Web News. They feature current stories related to Tor and other darknets, such as New Tool Checks to Ensure Darknet Sites are Truly Anonymous.
It also has an AlphaBay Coin Tumbler Guide, which gives a basic explanation of how coin tumblers work, and then promotes itself as a superior coin tumbler to others that offer the same service (one advantage it features is a fixed fee of 0.001 BTC; many other services take 3% or more of each transaction).
There’s a site similar to the AlphaBayMarket.com that exists, called Mr. Squirrel’s Guide to the Agora Marketplace; that market, however, has since closed down. Some of its former vendors have since opened their own independent shops.
Ironically, as I was in the process of researching this post, the clearnet site shut down; were they having server issues, or is someone spying on me? (Could be either!) (wink)
In any case, the clearnet site more or less explains how to register for the market, how to use it, and also features a few reviews (mostly positive, of course). You won’t see this kind of bold darknet market promotion for many of the smaller markets, though.
Why is that? It may be that the smaller markets don’t have the reputation of ones like AlphaBay, and thus they don’t feel as confident parading their names around the clearnet. Again, however, that’s just conjecture on my part.
On my earlier post Exploring Darknet Markets: One Pill Makes You Larger, I listed a number of the most popular markets and explained a little about them. Per contra, I didn’t go into much detail about specific markets, because to be honest, I lacked experience in that area.
Later on, I did in fact visit one called Apple Market, and wrote an actual review: Darknet Markets: Apple Market. As far as I know, that one is still one of the higher rated markets that’s still active. It works similarly to its competitors: it offers Multi-Sig transactions, and sells quite a few different products – drugs, hacked accounts, iPhones, iPads (hence the name).
Though I have visited some more of the markets since then, I will say this straight up: I have never purchased any of their products (check the bitcoin blockchain if you don’t believe me, fellas!).
Still, I find them intriguing for various reasons; I’m interested in the security protocols involved, and also the processes behind running them. Also, the “dramas” that take place (exit scams, takedowns, etc.) are fascinating.
At the same time, I’m fully aware that it’s a high-risk business, not unlike selling meth on the street (or, take your pick). In fact, on the abovementioned AlphaBay Market site, they featured a news story entitled Caliconnect, Darknet Market Vendor Busted in CA.
Apparently, Caliconnect (real name David Ryan Burchard) was one of the more high-profile vendors, who had even operated on the notorious Silk Road! It seems to me that authorities aren’t going to waste their time busting every darknet market vendor. However, if someone’s as successful as Mr. Burchard in that regard, they’re going to attract attention, and it’s more likely that the feds will want to make an example out of them.
So, readers – once again, I remind you: feel free to explore these markets, but to (mis)quote the old adage:
“If you’re playing with bitcoin, you’re gonna get burned!”