AlphaBay Market Review
|Alternative AlphaBay Links||http://alphabay2yjrktqn.onion|
|Alphabay market login link||http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/login.php|
|Reddit?||No official Reddit|
AlphaBay Market is currently one of the largest and most successful darknet markets in the world. It pre-launched in November 2014, but its official launch took place on December 22, 2014. It was founded by carding forum regular alpha02, and is currently owned by him and developer DeSnake.
AlphaBay is an English-only market and features products in a broad range of categories, including drugs, digital goods, fraud-related materials, counterfeit products (e.g. bills), weapons, electronics, and others.
AlphaBay Market Main URL Link – onion address:
Alternative Onion and non-Onion Links to AlphaBay Channels:
- AlphaBay Official Forum: http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/forum
- Official AlphaBay Subreddit: /r/alphabay
- To register as a vendor: http://pwoah7foa6au2pul.onion/seller.php
A Few More Alternative AlphaBay Links:
Is AlphaBay Down Now?
No – at the moment Alphabay is up and running.
Necessary Things Before Buying
Before shopping at AlphaBay marketplace, you will need some form of cryptocurrency, as well as a few technological tools: the Tor Browser, PGP, bitcoins (BTC) or Monero (XMR). You can also use a VPN for additional protection, but if you do, make sure that your VPN provider is trustworthy.
- A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a network isolated from the rest of the internet. If you do choose to use one, it’s best to do your research and make sure that the provider doesn’t keep logs.
- Tor, as explained previously, is the network (and browser) through which you’ll access AlphaBay. To download it, go to Tor Project – Download Tor.
- Beyond these tools, you’ll need a PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) program to encrypt and decrypt messages on the site, and to help preserve your confidentiality. One of the best PGP programs is GNU Privacy Guard (GnuPG), which is available from GnuPG.org. You can also generate a PGP key with your command line interface, although this takes a little longer.
- In order to purchase items from AlphaBay, as stated earlier, you’ll need a cryptocurrency, specifically BTC or XMR. Although you can buy bitcoins using traditional payment methods, you need to store them in a wallet. One of the most secure BTC wallets is Electrum Bitcoin Wallet; read more about it on its homepage. To buy Monero, go to http://getmonero.org.
Registering an Account
Prior to registering for AlphaBay, you may see a page that says “ALPHABAY MARKET | DDOS PROTECTION” (pictured above). As it says in the screenshot, the DDOS Protection appears during periods when there is high anonymous traffic on the server.
In this case, you’ll have to solve a CAPTCHA in order to prove that you’re not a bot (you may have noticed that this occurs on non-market sites as well). On occasion, even if you do solve the CAPTCHA correctly, you still won’t be able to access the market (which is an issue with the site). In these instances, it’s best to try one of the alternate links.
After you successfully load the main page of AlphaBay listed above, you’ll see a registration form. The required fields, in this case, are: username, password, and a six-digit PIN. Nonetheless, it’s safest if you fill out all the fields (in particular your PGP key).
When registering, you should create a username and password that you do not use elsewhere, particularly on the clearnet (i.e. non-Tor sites), such as your email or social media accounts.
It’s also a good idea to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) to prevent others from stealing your bitcoins or Monero.
While it’s not required, you should also enter a “Login phrase” that will be used in case you forget your password. (Example: “This was not a good town for psychedelic drugs. Extremely menacing vibrations were all around us.”) Do not forget this phrase! If you do, you will not be able to recover your password.
If you do this, AlphaBay will display a PGP-encrypted message, which you’ll have to decrypt using your private PGP key. After decrypting it, type in the plaintext message that appears.
When this is complete, you should be able to enter the market itself.
AlphaBay User Interface (UI)
AlphaBay has a very simple and easy-to-use UI, and is almost comparable to e-commerce sites that you might find on the clearnet, like Amazon.
At the top of the page is a menu bar with all of the main site functions:
- Home: takes you back to the homepage
- Sales: tracks items that you’ve sold on the market
- Messages: an email-like messaging system to correspond with vendors and other users
- Orders: tracks items that you’ve ordered on the market
- Listings: takes you to the listings of items for sale
- Balance: shows your balance of Bitcoin/Monero
- Feedback: allows you to give site feedback
- Forums: connects you to the AlphaBay forums (linked to above)
- API: this feature is somewhat new; it allows you to pull details from your from your account (read messages, check your balance, etc.) without logging in. However, there is evidence that this feature has serious security flaws, so be careful using it.
On the sidebar to the left, you can browse the various categories of items that are for sale. There are currently 12 item categories available:
- Drugs & Chemicals
- Guides & Tutorials
- Counterfeit Items
- Digital Products
- Jewels & Gold
- Carded Items
- Software & Malware
- Security & Hosting
- Other Listings
AlphaBay has possibly the largest variety and quantity of items on any major darknet market at the moment. If you can’t find it here, you’ll likely have difficulty finding it on other markets.
No matter which page you’re visiting, the categories will always be displayed, so it’s very convenient and easy to switch to another one. Categories are also arranged in a “tree” format, so you can click (or tap) one and then easily navigate into its subcategories (e.g. Drugs & Chemicals -> Cocaine).
AlphaBay Search Filters
AlphaBay has a number of search filters. In its case, you can filter search results by:
- Listing type: fixed price, auction, or both
- Product type: Digital, physical, or all
- Price range: set in USD
- Country of origin
- Shipping destinations accommodated
- Vendor activity (active only, or all listing)
- Automatic fulfillment (auto or manual)
- Multisig options (multisig or escrow)
- Availability of bulk discount (only listings with bulk discount or flat rate listings only)
- Stock availability
- Payment type (escrow, partial FE percentage, total FE, or all listings)
- Cryptocurrency accepted (BTC or XMR)
- Vendor processing time (12 hours or less, 24 hours or less, 36 hours or less, 48 hours or less, and 72 hours or less)
- Vendor trust level (ranges from 1-10)
Search results can also be arranged by popularity, newness (most recent to least recent), and price (lowest to highest, and vice versa).
Though most of the filters require little explanation, there are some that may sound unfamiliar. In particular, these are: multisig options and payment type.
Multisig is an abbreviation meaning “multisignature.” In other words, this is a security feature requiring more than one key (a secret number that allows BTC or XMR to be spent) to authorize a cryptocurrency transaction – that is, before it is communicated to the blockchain. A feature like this can be especially helpful on Tor, where, for better or worse, there are a plethora of scams.
All product listings on AlphaBay are tagged in order to designate whether they require multisig or are held in escrow.
AlphaBay offers three payment options: escrow, partial FE (finalize early) percentage, and total FE. Escrow, just like its non-darknet counterpart, means that a third party will hold the customer’s bitcoins/Monero securely before sending them to the vendor (when all of the transaction terms are complete). Total FE means “total Finalize Early,” i.e. payment is sent in total to the vendor, even if the product hasn’t been sent yet, or the terms of the sale have not been completed.
Partial FE percentage is a newer feature which splits up the risk (and responsibility) between the buyer and seller. A vendor, for instance, may ask for 50% of payment upfront, and 50% upon delivery. In other words, 50% of the funds are held in escrow until the transaction is complete, and are to be delivered after the goods are received.
Choosing a Vendor on AlphaBay
AlphaBay tries to help buyers choose a reputable vendor through several systems. First, all vendors have a profile page, similar to what you might see on e-commerce sites on the clearnet. Second, all vendors have both feedback ratings and trust ratings (shown next to their user name).
Vendors on AlphaBay (as on some other markets) are assigned a Vendor Level number, ranging from 1 to 10. Level 1 is allocated to all new users, as well as those who have less than 100 sales transactions, $1500 sales volume, and a feedback rating that is at least 90% positive. The higher levels follow a strict scale, and must meet these qualifications:
- Level 2: 100 sales, $1500 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 3: 200 sales, $4000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 4: 300 sales, $10,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 5: 400 sales, $25,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 6: 500 sales, $75,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 7: 600 sales, $175,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 8: 700 sales, $400,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 9: 800 sales, $1,000,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
- Level 10: 900 sales, $2,500,000 sales volume, 90% positive minimum feedback rating
The Trust Level is not affected by the Vendor Level, though it, too, ranges from 1 to 10. As to how it is computed, the formula is only known by those working behind the scenes in AlphaBay. Despite its secrecy, the Trust Level is related to the amount of time a user has been a member of the market, and also the number of Trust or Distrust clicks he has received.
It should come as no surprise that the vendors with higher ratings and the best feedback are the ones you should likely trust when it comes to buying goods. Be that as it may, appearances aren’t everything; sometimes vendors will make deals under the table with other site users in order to receive higher ratings and/or feedback, even if they haven’t earned said accolades.
One warning sign to look out for is that ratings or feedback for a particular user appear simultaneously, or at timed instances. In addition, the types of products that a vendor is offering may also hint at their reliability (or lack thereof).
Fortunately, there are trustworthy sources such as http://darknetmarkets.co, which has a good AlphaBay Guide and might be able to fill you in on any missing details.
Adding and Withdrawing Funds on AlphaBay
As mentioned earlier, AlphaBay makes use of two cryptocurrencies: bitcoin (BTC) and Monero (XMR).
Depositing these funds is simple: send funds (a minimum of 0.1 BTC or 0.1 XMR) to the wallet address you filled in on your Balance page. This wallet address will change with each deposit (as a security measure).
Deposits require three confirmations before the funds will show up in your account (which is also a security measure).
To withdraw funds, merely fill out the withdrawal form, which is on your Balance page.
For every withdrawal transaction, you will be charged a fee of 0.001 BTC (not unlike the fee you might be charged at an ATM not belonging to your bank). Do you remember the 6-digit PIN you entered when first joining the market? This is necessary to start the withdrawal process. The coins that you withdraw are then sent directly to your wallet address. This takes significantly less time than it does to make a deposit.
Beyond all this, AlphaBay supports bitcoin tumbling, which expunges all traces of your coin transactions from the site (in the instance that someone investigates your actions). Tumbling requires a fee of 1% to 3% of the amount being tumbled. The market personally recommends tumbling through BitBlender or Grams Helix.
A Quick Ordering Guide
Ordering goods on AlphaBay is a quick and simple process. Find the item you want, and enter the quantity you want. Afterwards, click the red “Buy now” button, or the green “Queue” button (to finish the purchase at a future time).
After clicking the Buy Now button, you will be asked to enter your shipping address, which will be encrypted (in case of prying eyes).
As on clearnet sites like Amazon, AlphaBay has a confirmation page, which reiterates important details. For example, if you’re buying an FE item, the site warns you that you must trust the vendor, in case you don’t get your money back if something goes wrong with the transaction. AlphaBay also kindly lets you know if the vendor you’re ordering from has no indemnity fund.
To track the status of your order, you need to go to the Orders page (which is in the menu bar at the top). You can be sure that the order has been finalized and is on its way when it moves to the Archived Orders tab.
IMPORTANT: If your order has not arrived within the time designated on the listing, you have the option of initiating a dispute. Use AlphaBay’s support ticket system (on the menu bar) should you need help.
Also, if this is your first time ordering from a darknet market, keep in mind that your item will not be delivered in the typical fashion: it will be disguised or concealed in some way in order to avoid suspicion. This also referred to as “being made stealth.”
Pros and Cons
- Simple, intuitive interface
- Excellent security – supports multisig
- Wide variety of items, in multiple categories
- Supports use of Monero
- Good feedback system
- Supports BTC/XMR tumbling
- Great forum and other communication methods
- Rewards vendors for being successful
- Sometimes CAPTCHA system has issues
- Site is sometimes down
- Market may take time to learn and get accustomed to, particularly for those new to darknet markets
- Has the possibility of scams (although steps are taken to prevent this)
- The AlphaBay API has potential security flaws and is not recommended at this time.
AlphaBay is one of the best darknet markets currently in existence. It carries a wide variety of goods and services, and also offers excellent customer support. It also offers FE, multisig, and escrow payments (depending on the vendor), and accepts both BTC and Monero. All in all, a great market