One of the not-so-pleasant uses that cryptocurrencies have been subjected to is in the shadowy dark net. However, with law enforcement agents working to shut down some of the major market hubs in the dark domain, some providers seem to shut down voluntarily even though they’re not exit scams.
Weeks after the popular darknet markets, Whitehouse Markets closed its shop, citing that it had accomplished its objectives, another popular platform, Torrez Market exits. Its sign-off notice is prompting insinuations that LE may be on the heels of several DNM.
Darknet sites are routinely set up and shut down as operators and the law enforcement agents run the gauntlet in a cat and mouse game to outwit one another.
While one group works to protect a lucrative source of illicit funds, the other is tasked with curtailing criminal activities on the ‘unseen web’. It is not really a surprise to experienced darknet watchers that Torrez Markets joined a number of operators that have shut down in recent months.
The question in the mind of many users of the service is “What could be the reason behind the planned exit of Torrez Markets considering that the site has been in business for more than one year?”
Closing Shop After 675 Days in Business
According to the message signed by the administrator of Torrez Market, which was posted a couple of weeks back by the administrator, mrblonde, who wrote:
After 675 days of presence on the darknet, we have decided to close our door for good.
Since December 17, major activities and functions such as registering, upgrading to vendor account, purchasing, featured items auctions and support activities have been suspended. The release advised users of Torrez Market to use the window period before total shutdown to ensure that they settle outstanding issues they have with other users of the site such as buyers and vendors.
It further stated that users should withdraw all available balance in their accounts prior to the final shutdown of Torrez Market. Customers were notified to expect queues while doing this despite the fact that all withdrawal processes on the site are automated. Users making such withdrawals via monero wallets should expect more delays “due to the way XMR is built”
Final Shutdown in 2-3 Weeks After Notice
Mrblonde stated that the market would be open for another 2 to 3 weeks to enable users that have outstanding issues to settle them before the final shutdown.
Even though markets come on and off at different times in the darknet, the question regarding why Torrez Market decided to shut down operations has been the topic of discussion among users in several darknet forums and even on sub-reddits dedicated to the market.
Settling Outstanding Issues
The managers of Torrez Market seem eager to make sure that all users are not shortchanged as a result of the impending exit. The admin warned vendors who plan to take advantage of the situation to become exit scams:
Vendors trying to use this opportunity to exit scam will be banned. We also share our vendor’s data with Recon the message warned.
According to the signed notification, the site managers would spend the next few weeks working on the resolution of outstanding disputes between buyers and vendors to give every user the opportunity to leave with their funds or gears and solicit the help of all involved to ensure that they succeed.
Why is Torrez Market Exiting?
Darknet markets rarely usually shut down in one of several ways:
- As exit scams that do not warn users but steal their funds as they shut down.
- Shut down by law enforcement which may lead to the compromising of the identity of the users of such markets.
- An intentional and planned shutdown by the owners of the market due to reasons best known to them.
- Planned shutdown to evade LE, then setting up similar or a different business at another .onion domain site.
In the case of Torrez, there is no indication that the opsec of the owner has been compromised. Neither is there an inkling that the identity of the users of the market have been compromised. This could only mean that we can only guess why the darknet site is closing down.
Final Words for Torrez Buyers And Sellers
The release assured buyers that have made orders prior to the latest situation that they would find the status of their orders on their dashboards. However, those that couldn’t find such orders were likely victims of phishing attacks and there is nothing that could be done about those.
Mrblonde expressed hope that Torrez users would “find another home” and encouraged them to avoid big and established markets. Since, according to them, as markets get older, the possibility of collapsing becomes more likely. Torrez users were encouraged to give smaller markets a chance as they search for a darkmarket sites that would replace Torrez service.
A Trend Of Exits
It is worth knowing that Torrez Markets is not the only DNM that has pulled out in recent months before the end of 2021. Whitehouse Markets already mentioned at the beginning of this article and Cannazon are two other darknet markets that have shut down recently.
There are indications that operators of some of these darknet markets are pulling out as precautionary measures to avoid blowing their Opsec to law enforcement agencies such as the FBI.
Is Torrez Market Gone for Good?
Even though Torrez Market is considered a mid-sized market that caters for the need of 30k+ users, it still plays a strategic role in the darknet market. Are they gone for good? No one knows for sure. According to mrblonde:
While ToRReZ will be gone for good, we might (or not) come back at some stage with something different.
The whole world goes green. Maybe we will join the trend at some stage ;] When we decide to be back, we will definitely sign the message with one of the known keys so watch out for any copycats.