Dream Market, The largest, most popular and established Darknet Market is officially shutting down which opens up whole new avenues for newer markets such as Empire Market, that’s what this Empire Market review is all about.
Empire Market seems to have grown tremendously since my last review; which coincidentally was almost exactly a year ago (25.04.2018).
Although more than just an Empire Market review, I aim to make this piece an ultimate, all-encompassing guide on the marketplace, and would aim to answers (in detail, with screenshots) all the questions associated with the marketplace.
Some of the questions being addresses are:
- Alternative Empire Market Mirrors
- How to Enable 2-FA on Empire Market.
- How to Login using 2-FA on Empire Market.
- How to Recover accounts on Empire Market?
- How to Enable Pin for Purchases on Empire Market?
- How to Make a Deposit and Purchase Items on Empire Market?
- How to get Proof of Ownership for Deposit Address from Empire Market?
- How to find trusted vendors on the Marketplace.
- How to Withdraw funds from Empire Market?
But before getting on with the Tutorials; let’s get you a detailed Empire Market review of the platform so you can decide if the marketplace is even worth going with.
Empire Market Overview
The most interesting trivia about Empire Market is the fact that it’s modelled after Alphabay, arguably the most successful Darknet Market ever after SilkRoad.
Note that only the interface looks and feels the same; which in a lot of ways promotes usability and easy-understanding as almost every Darknet market user already was familiar with Alphabay.
The other features such as the products, security, vending and everything else is updated and made better. Anyway here’s an outline of the marketplace:
- Primary URL: http://empiremktxgjovhm.onion
- Currently most stable mirror: http://6ngvt5ueyjyo62zx.onion
- Registration: Mandatory.
- Number of Products: 15385
- Security: 2-FA, Multisig, Escrow, Security PIN, Recovery Phrase, login Phrase.
- Vendor Bond: USD $200.00
- Currency: Bitcoin, Litecoin, Monero.
- Autoshop Available.
- Forum: http://izjk2nuululvkhzx.onion
Empire Market Mirrors
Any Darknet market, especially the ones as popular as Empire are under constant DDoS attacks which is why at times the primary URL may not work and you’d need mirrors to access the Darknet market.
The unique feature with Empire market is its primary URL http://empiremktxgjovhm.onion when unavailable auto-redirects users to a working mirror, making sure they always land on legit mirrors and not phishing sites.
In case you want more mirrors or wish to manually type in an URL and get to the site faster, here are some:
Why should you trust any of the above links? Well because the marketplace admin has himself posted these on the forum on 12th March 2019 and it can be verified here
Empire Market Registration
Before you can access anything else; the marketplace would ask you to register/login. Obviously being a Darknet Market, it doesn’t ask for any personally identifiable information.
Here’s what the registration page looks like:
And as is evident, the only required fields are an Username, a password, and a six-digit Pin. No E-mail ID, or verification required.
The accounts are activated instantly and there’s no wait-period. Also, no invites are required, users can simply leave the “invite-user” field blank.
Once you enter all details and click on “Join Empire Market”, if there aren’t any problems the marketplace will show you a Mnemonic recovery code, just note this down somewhere safe, and then enter it exactly as it is shown on the screen.
This mnemonic code is your master-key and used to recover your account when you lose access to your account (read step by step tutorial here).
Done. You can now login using your account details.
Empire Market User-Interface
As already mentioned, the marketplace is majorly inspired from Alphabay, hence if you ever were an Alphabay user you already know how to use Empire Market or understand its navigation.
If you weren’t, in that case you’d notice a top-bar on the marketplace upon logging in
Consider this the main menu for the marketplace, holds all the navigational links to different sections and parts of the website.
The send message option can be used to send direct messages to individual users, buyers and vendors on the marketplace. “Orders” is what lets you access your current or achieved orders.
Or use the “Become a Vendor” option to get a vending license on Empire Market maybe?
Balance is how you check your current balance for all the different currencies supported on the marketplace. Or you can reach the Forum and/or Support staff using the respective links.
Let’s dissect the left-sidebar? It starts with basic profile information about you; showing you your balance, joining date, trust level, total sales and total orders.
Then there are links for the Autoshop, as well as Product Categories. Sliding further down is the search-feature which we will talk about in detail later.
The centre-screen starts by displaying your personal phrase, followed by a simple, filter-less search feature.
Then there are the featured listings for products. Just below that is the security-bar, referral info, and news.
Bottomline, the interface is as simple as can be. Even a first-timer can easily stroll around, or get to the products he/she needs.
This probably will be a more interesting section for you than the above two sections on this Empire Market review; obviously because Darknet Market products are a rarity, they’re mostly illegal and hard to find for starters, aren’t they?
As of today, the marketplace boasts exactly 15385 products; and let me remind you that exactly a year ago when I last reviewed the platform it merely had around 3,000 individual listings.
The increase does speak volumes for its growing reputation and user-base.
Its product-category on the left-sidebar neatly enlists the following product categories:
- Drug and Chemicals
- Digital Products
- Counterfeit items
- Jewels and Gold
- Carded items.
- Software and Malware
- Security and hosting
- Others etc.
Following the Darknet market tradition, over 50% of its total stock is dominated by Drugs and Chemicals which has further divided the inventory into Benzos, Alcohol, Opioids, Ecstacy, Steroids, Cannabis to name just a few.
You can even purchase Digital Products on the marketplace, the category dominates nearly 25% of the market’s total stock and offers as many as 3174 individual listings. Need to get Game keys? Software? E-books? Erotica? This is where you’ll find those.
“Guides and Tutorials” is the third most populated category on the marketplace with a current listing of 1374 products. Its sub-categories include Drugs, Fraud, Hacking etc. which lead users to various guides on drug-making, committing fraud and hacking tutorials.
It even has an inventory of 493 Counterfeit items, so you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on branded clothes, Jewelleries etc. or if it’s counterfeit money you’re interested in, they’ve got that covered as well.
“Jewels and Gold” is another category although with only 125 products as of now. Software and Malware has as many 285 listings and sells software, their keys, or exploits, payloads, botnets etc.
“Security and Hosting” is a category with a current stock of 124 products, you can either purchase hosting servers from the category or just security related products such as VPNS, Socks etc.
Bottomline, the market skyrocketed its product inventory since our last Empire market review and currently is totally capable of catering to most needs.
AutoShop is a recent addition to the marketplace, it has an unique product category of its own and hence isn’t included with the above section.
The Autoshop is basically an automated shop, which auto-dispatches the purchased items instantly without having to wait for a vendor’s approval or requiring any action from him/her.
The autoshop is like a marketplace within a marketplace and is divided into two parts:
- The Credit Cards Autoshop
- Accounts Autoshop.
This is what the CC autoshop looks like:
As the name suggests, it sells hacked, stolen, sniffed Credit Cards with significant amount of balances in them for negligible prices.
The card autoshop is pretty advanced and also includes a card checker, which lets you check the cards’ status pre-purchase, which when used makes sure that only “live” cards are dispatched and not dead ones.
As for the accounts autoshop, it sells accounts to various premium sites and services such as Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, PayPal accounts and so on.
Note that it may have some foreign products as well such as PSD Templates for driver’s licences, Credit card dumps and so on, however if it’s accounts you’re looking your needs will be catered to.
- What’s not Allowed
The marketplace does seem to be pretty liberal with what is or isn’t allowed, however the last time we did an Empire market review it did allow weapons to be sold on the marketplace which they recently changed and now any weapons’ listing results in an immediate vendor ban.
Apart from weapons, the other goods not allowed on the marketplace include:
- Child Porn
This is one of the prime aspects I pay attention to when it comes to a Darknet Market review; and it’s two-fronted.
Meaning, the first front is the Darknet market’s “account” security, the features it provides to ensure that you account can’t be hacked into.
The second front being its “anti-scam” measures, which prevent scams, fraud and your money being stolen by the other party (the vendor or the buyer) without delivering his/her end of the bargain.
Empire Market doesn’t seem to leave any stones unturned when it comes to the security of its users. For now it supports:
- Login Phrase
- Recovery Code
- And Security PIN
The Login Phrase is setup during registration, it’s just an unique phrase or sentence which is special or unique to you.
It’s like a secret code between you, and the marketplace, known only to you and the marketplace. When hackers create a duplicate, phishing site; they can only copy the “layout” of the site, and not its back-end database which is where this secret phrase is stored.
Hence if this phrase isn’t displayed exactly as you set it during registration it indicates you’re on a phishing site.
2-FA is one of the most advanced ways to secure your accounts, it’s an additional layer of security on top of your passwords. Just like traditional 2-factor authentication which sends an OTP to your cell phones, 2-FA on Darknet Markets too requires something similar.
Although because it’s a Darknet Market it can’t exactly ask for your phone numbers, can it? So it asks for your PGP key. Once set, you’re required to use your PGP key to decode an encrypted message while logging in. (You can read a step-by-step setup and Log-in Tutorial here).
This makes sure that even in cases when your password is compromised, the hacker can’t login to your accounts without having your PGP key as well.
Recovery code is like your master password, this helps you recover your accounts in case you forget your password, lose access, or the account details are changed by an unauthorized third-party.
Finally there’s the security pin, it’s a 6-digit PIN set during registration and when enabled requires users to enter this while performing all major actions on the account, such as making purchases, withdrawing funds and so on.
So between the 2-FA, Recovery Phrase, PIN, and Login phrase I do believe it does provide iron-clad security and an account will only be compromised if all of these 4 firewalls are breached, likelihood of which are next to none.
Anti Scam Measures
This Empire Market review section here is devoted to the security features which are employed on a more “personal” level than technical.
For starters it has a very efficient Escrow service (not on autoshop) and facilitates fair trade between the two parties.
The last time I scribbled down a similar Empire Market review, they didn’t have Multisig available, as of today they do! These are transactions which need multiple signatures to be executed, generally the involved parties are the Buyer, The Vendor and the marketplace.
Making sure no one party can scam the other solely on its own.
And then finally there’s account-transparency. The marketplace is pretty transparent with what it shows potential buyers and vendors about each other. Details such as:
- Total Disputes Vs. Orders.
- Total Spendings.
- Total number of items sold.
- Reviews from other users.
- Total Amount Paid
- Amount in Escrow
- Vendor Level
- Trust Level etc. are clearly mentioned.
This helps buyers easily find more trustworthy and established vendors, and does the same for vendors as the number of Disputes, total spent money and other details can help them chaff out fraudsters from legit buyers.
The marketplace does accept individual vendors vending over there and obviously isn’t an admin-only marketplace.
However it recently spiked its vendor-bond from USD $100.00 to USD $200.00; which in my personal opinion is still dirt-cheap considering its established reputation and buyer-base; and also the much higher price asked for by other Darknet Markets.
The vendor bond was earlier refundable; however they stopped refunding the bond and it’s now a non-refundable payment which again in my opinion is an anti-scam measure demotivating scammers from joining the platform.
This is one of the final features/aspects being discussed in this Empire Market review, after which we’ll move on to the Tutorials where we will explain, in detail, the various steps required to get things done on the marketplace.
Why am I even talking about the Search functionality? Simply because for a marketplace that boasts over 15,000 products it’s not practical for users to manually scroll through all the products and pages to find the products they’re looking for.
We’d analyze the filters provided with its search-functionality and the accuracy of the results to gauge the efficiency of the search-feature.
The search-feature for the normal marketplace, and the autoshop are completely different, hence it’s best to talk of them in separate sections.
This is what the card autoshop search-pane looks like:
As is evident, it has an army of filters armed to their teeth to help you land the shot exactly on what you’re searching for, including:
- Fullz (yes/no)
- Date of birth
- Birth year
- Price: Min-Max
- Type (Visa/ Master card/ Maestro etc).
- Credit/Debit/Charge card
- And level.
Being honest, that is the most extensive search feature I’ve ever seen, it comprises of every single aspect that comes with a Credit/Debit card, and because of the extreme precision you can find the absolute-exact card you’re looking for!
Now let’s talk about the search feature for the traditional market? This is what’s provided:
- Keyword box: This is where you enter the keywords for what you’re searching for.
- Product Type: Radio buttons let you choose from Digital/ Physical/ Autoshop products.
- Category: Specify the category of your product.
- Origin country: select where you wish your product to come from.
- Ships to: Lets you specify your country so only those products which can be shipped there are shown.
- In stock: (not extremely useful, most users won’t search for products which aren’t in stock).
- Payment: Lets you select the payment “type” as in Escrow, FE, Multisig.
- Coin: Specify the payment currency you’d like to pay with. So it only shows vendors accepting that currency in the results.
- Vendor trust level: Set min-max vendor trust levels.
We even put the feature to test, and impressively the results for “drugs” when searched in the “Drugs and Chemicals” category yielded physical products related to drugs.
However, when the same keyword was paired with “Guides and Tutorials” e-books came up on how to manufacture/grow drugs.
Bottomline, the Search A.I knows what you’re searching for and lets us extremely narrow down our needs.
This being the final section of this Empire Market review, let’s take into account the currencies that it accepts?
Obviously it does accept Bitcoin, in addition to:
Although which currency you can use to make payment for each specific purchase would depend on individual vendors as not everyone may accept the currency you’re trying to buy with.
We got pretty dirty and detailed with this Empire Market review, but hope that serves its purpose of answering all the surface-level questions that one may have pertaining to the marketplace.
We talked about the Registration, Interface, Products, Security, Vending, Searching and Payment methods, not a lot left untouched, don’t you agree?
Although hey I’ve tried to remain neutral and unbiased throughout this Empire Market review and only laid out the facts without shoving my verdict down your throat.
So do let me know what you feel of the marketplace from your point of view; as well as drop your comments about this Empire Market review?