Users are afraid they may be in the middle of an exit scam.
Empire Market, a major darknet marketplace for buying and selling illicit goods, has been offline for over 48 hours as of press time. Customers have begun to raise concerns about whether a DDoS attack is causing the site to stay offline, or if something bigger is afoot.
Twitter user dark.fail, an anonymous journalist specializing in the Tor Project, suggested that the blackout “feels more stressful than [Empire market’s] frequent” downtime in 2019, when DDoS attacks kept the site offline for extended periods of time.
Someone claiming to be one of Empire’s head moderators, named “Se7en”, issued an ambiguous statement after the attack:
“If the market is still down in a couple of days, I’ll make a post about the whole situation, then it’s early days and maybe the admins will bring it back.”
Dark.fail shared another update, allegedly from Empire Market’s staff, stating that people should be aware of the “many false narratives” which are supposedly circulating. They also suggested that “doing anything safely takes time.”
Rumors continue to circulate on Reddit with some users suggesting that Empire Market could be preparing for an “exit scam” — a scenario in which a company disappears with customers’ funds with little to no warning.