Valhalla Market is currently among the top darknet markets. As a result, it attracts hundreds if not thousands of users on a daily basis, which consequently means that the site owners generate a substantial amount of commission on sales and purchases.
But of late, many users in multiple platforms have complained about accessing their funds from the platform. For this reason, many speculations are being peddled as to what is about to transpire.
It is well known that darknet markets exit from the scene in the least expected way, leaving thousands of their users in limbo. From the past, it is noticeable that exits of darknet markets occur through scams or seizure by authorities.
However, some factors may cause a market to go down temporarily. And these factors include maintenance and hacks. During this time, a site maybe online but with limited functions or it may go down until the upgrade is complete.
For the case of Valhalla Market, the situation is currently very complicated because no valid reason has been provided as to why users cannot access their funds.
Just to mention a few well-known cases of darknet giants that have fallen, we have the famous Silk Road, Outlaw, AlphaBay and Hansa markets. These fell on either of the reasons listed above.
From the most recent seizure of AlphaBay and Hansa, we note that the aspect of unpredictability was evident. AlphaBay was closed down a few weeks before Hansa, but the process was well choreographed and meant to put darknet market users into some confusion to monitor their activities.
When AlphaBay went down, much speculation and rumor-mongering filled the air—with some users of the market suggesting that it may be an exit scam, other saying it was due to a maintenance issue. It was only after a few weeks that the U.S. authorities cleared the air indicating that they had seized the market.
The interesting part is that during the seizure of AlphaBay, Dutch authorities, on the other hand, had taken over Hansa Market on an earlier date. The main reason for closing down AlphaBay first was to monitor the activities of users in the various markets.
True indeed, this strategy yielded fruits as a peculiar trend was noted. Immediately after AlphaBay was closed, users rushed to create accounts on Hansa and other markets, including Valhalla Market. Surprisingly, they did so with the same usernames and passwords, which quickly tipped off investigators to who the users were.
During this time, it was noted that there were vendors who were operating on both the platforms with the same usernames. Perhaps, since they had built a reputation for themselves so it would be easier to get customers.
Evidence gathered indicated the users were the same, because not only were the usernames of the vendors similar, but so were the listings of the various goods and services they offered.
Now that the two markets have fallen, one is left wondering how many vendors operate on more than one market. Of course, diversity is essential and for this reason, it is evident that they are selling their products to several markets.
Since Hansa’s registration opened to new users during the time that AlphaBay was closed, a lot of “refugees” flocked to the market. So many, in fact, that Hansa’s registration platform had to be shut down. Users assumed Hansa’s servers weren’t able to handle the influx of new registrants, so admins would have to expand their servers and upgrade their systems to manage the traffic before re-opening.
All of this was pre-planned by law enforcement to deceive dark web users into believing Hansa was indeed full. A sting operation was being carried out by both the U.S. and Dutch authorities simultaneously. Some users suspected the site had been under control of law enforcement all along, based on what had transpired with AlphaBay weeks prior, but no one knew for certain what was happening.
In this time, hundreds of thousands of users in the darknet markets lost their Bitcoins running into millions of dollars, an amount which will never be recovered no matter what transpires.
Now that Valhalla Market is having issues processing payments, users are advised not to use the market. Commenters on Reddit maintain that those who do use the site are doing so at their risk because, as things are going on, it is tough to tell what will take place next.
Back in 2013, another major darknet market giant fell when the famed Silk Road was shut down by the feds. The founder, Ross Ulbricht (known online as “Dread Pirate Roberts” or DPR), was later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
Authorities were on his trail for quite some time, during which period they spent months gathering evidence. They were able to get access to his server, which facilitated them to monitor his activities.
The major blunder done by DPR was using his real email address on platforms where he posted links to his website. This gave investigators a starting point, since they had a clue as to who was the mastermind.
It was this, together with his postings on other sites, that made authorities believe they were targeting the right person since the choice of words was similar.
The other instance of a high-profile market shutting down was Outlaw, which went offline earlier this year. It just disappeared one day, never to be back again. During this time, many speculations traveled across the darknet market community but at the end of the day, users lost all their funds.
It is therefore advisable that darknet market users adhere to tips that will enable them to stay relatively safe.
The first is to only deposit funds on the darknet site if and when users need them. And upon finishing up the sale, it is recommended that users withdraw their leftover funds as soon as possible.
From what has recently transpired, it is evident that most users end up accumulating large sums of Bitcoins with intentions to withdraw them later on. This is quite risky because they might end up losing everything in the event the market goes down, for whatever reason.
The second best practice is to never use real names in forums online. As in the case of the founder of the Silk Road, Ulbricht used his real email address to post onto one of the forums. This gave investigators a clue as to who was behind the market.
And, last but not least, individuals should employ the use of a VPN to ensure that they are anonymous over the dark web because hackers and government agencies can check users’ Tor usage.
For the fate of Valhalla Market, any of the above is possible and only time will tell because darknet markets come with a lot of uncertainty due to the nature of activities conducted.
But what is for sure is that no matter what transpires, the business keeps on growing. And the saying “when one door closes, another one opens” is applicable in this scenario.
For a fact, new markets are opened from time to time, and when they exit from the scene due to one reason or the other, it gives room for the smaller markets to grow. Just as was the case for the Silk Road, one would have thought that it was the end, but AlphaBay ultimately grew to be much bigger than its predecessor.
For now, Dream Market, Valhalla Market and Trade Route have grown expansively, and only time will tell the fate of these giants. It is expected that authorities are trying as much as possible to close them down, but people learn from their mistakes and that of others.
New challenges require new solutions, and for this reason, we note that authorities will have a hard time dealing with outlaws who create Dark web marketplaces to facilitate sales and purchases of illicit items.