Last updated on January 2nd, 2018 at 12:00 am
Several hours ago a member of the staff at Dark Net Market Evolution posted on reddit a warning that he believed the administrators of the site would soon be vanishing and running with the funds that had been placed in the site’s escrow.
The reddit post from user NSWGreat posted a thread titled [Complaint/Warning] EVOLUTION ADMINS EXIT SCAMMING.
I hate to the bearer of bad news, but I’ve been suspicious the past few days with withdrawals not working and admins usually are more forth coming in explaining to me why they’re slow but they weren’t this time. Just kept giving me time-frames
I have admin access to see parts of the back end, the admins are preparing to exit scam with all the funds. Not a single withdrawal has gone through in almost a week. Automatic withdrawals has been disabled which is only doing on rare occasions
I am so sorry, but Verto and Kimble have fucked us all. I have over $20,000 in escrow myself from sales.
I can’t fucking believe it, absolute scum. I am giving this warning to you all as soon as I possibly could of.
Confronted Kimble and Verto about it, they confirmed it and they’re doing it right now..
A short while after the post was made on reddit the Evolution site went offline within the hour.
At this time it isn’t clear how many bitcoins the two staff members allegedly took from the marketplace but estimates from moderators speaking off the record to Coin Fire place the number of coins over 41,000 BTC.
Several days ago a few vendors on the site had become suspicious with one telling Coin Fire,
Things seemed a little off. Emails were almost just being ignored. My withdraw was taking longer but was processed manually and I started to feel like things weren’t right. I decided last night to withdraw everything I had on the site and just wait it out a few days but my withdraw wasn’t processed and now here we are the next day and it is gone.
I suppose I should have withdrawn everything a few days ago but it appears that it would have been held up anyways.
Another vendor primarily dealing in the drug known as molly told Coin Fire they had issues withdrawing from the site several days ago and when bringing up issues to Evolution staff they found BTC withdraws suspended and an accusation of fraud.
The fucking funny thing is… they suspended us for fraud… all the while they were planning on exiting with a huge level of fraud. Should have seen that one coming considering how much BTC we moved through the site and suddenly we couldn’t anymore. – Anonymous vendor selling molly.
The vendor stated they had lost at least 20,000 USD they were holding on the marketplace. When pressed as to why they were holding so many BTC on the site they stated they were leaving it for orders to clear.
As the site founders Kimble and Verto were allegedly planning on making an exit with the site’s bitcoins they allowed some smaller withdrawals to clear manually to be sure that others were not expecting the upcoming fraud. They continued to let bitcoins amass in the meantime.
One vendor on Evolution has set up shop on another marketplace and is stating they will continue to ship product even though they aren’t likely to receive the coins from Evolution because they understand many people lost coins in this theft.
The owners of Evolution have not been identified but many online have stated they are from the TOR Carding Forum. The TCF is known for credit card number theft and an allegation that the owners of Evolution never denied.
These sort of issues are what OpenBazaar hopes to address by creating a decentralized market place for instant trading using bitcoin.
Image courtesy of Raul Lieberwirth.