Good afternoon, readers! I’ve been getting a lot of questions in private messages about buying goods on darknet markets recently, so I thought I’d share some general advice from what I know.
There has been a lot of turmoil in the darknet market world lately, due to the shutdowns of major markets like AlphaBay and Hansa, as well as many arrests. Just so you know, there’s never a guarantee that you won’t get caught.
That aside, first – figure out which markets are reliable, in general.
DeepDotWeb.com has a master list of darknet markets that are, at the very least, not phishing links or scams: Darknet Markets List. This helps you to weed out marketplaces that are phishing links from the very beginning.
If you aren’t comfortable using their clearnet site, then they have a Tor hidden service as well: http://deepdot35wvmeyd5.onion. Keep in mind, of course, that like lots of other Tor sites, many phishing sites have been made of DeepDotWeb as well (with market phishing sites under the listings)! I find that the site DNStats is pretty helpful this way too; if you don’t want to use their clearnet site, try http://dnstatstzgfcalax.onion (no, that’s not a phishing link!).
Once you’ve chosen the market that interests you, then make sure you have a good bitcoin wallet, like Electrum Bitcoin Wallet, which, in general, is considered to be one of the most secure.
Of course, you’ll need to have some bitcoin as well, or Monero, or whatever cryptocurrency your market of choice accepts. Some others are beginning to take Ethereum or Litecoin.
Finally, register for the market that you have in mind. The process is different depending on the market, but in general, you need to come up with a username and password, and sometimes a PIN to withdraw bitcoins. Many of them give you the option to upload your PGP key as well (which I would recommend). You can use your PGP key not only to encrypt messages, but also as a form of two-factor authentication (2FA).
Once you’ve done all that, then shop around as usual. It can also help to sign up for the market’s official forum, or to use one like DNM Avengers, so that you can get good feedback on which vendors are legit.
One of the trickiest parts of all this can be receiving your goods, so try to ensure that whichever vendor you use is good with “stealth.” Strangely enough, you should probably have the goods delivered to your home address, unless you live with your parents. Or at the very least, have it delivered somewhere that you trust, where the package is less likely to be intercepted. I assume that by doing all this, you know of the potential consequences.
Some of this, unfortunately, you just have to learn from experience. It seems inevitable that whenever you’re new to something, you’re going to make mistakes.