It's Now Official: White House Market Has Indefinitely Closed Down
One of the most prominent darknet marketplaces just signed off from the market. The White House Market formally declared its retirement on October 1st, 2021.
The White House Market operators shut down their operation. They signed off last week with a "we are retiring!" message. This was about two years after the launch of the marketplace.
"We have reached our goal, and now, according to plan, it's time for us to retire." These were the administrator's words on their homepage. Also, they used the exact words in a dread thread. As usual, they used their GPG key to sign the message cryptographically.
Additionally, they wrote:
"Thanks everybody for your business, trust, support, and of course for placing decent amounts of money in our pockets. We may come back sometime in the future with a different project, or we may not. Meanwhile, be on the lookout for phishing or copycats; if it's not signed by us, it's not us."
The Honorable White House Market Exit
Most markets often run away with user funds in the dark marketplace. A crime commonly referred to as an exit scam. Moreover, some even go offline after a law enforcement raid.
But the White House Market had an honorable exit. The WHM graciously left the black market while finalizing orders. This is uncommon in the black market, to say the least.
The WHM operated like an Amazon and eBay marketplace. It disabled new account registrations with its retirement. Additionally, it disabled the posting of new listings. These changes occurred following their retirement announcement.
As a result, the operators informed the vendors of the necessities. They told the sellers to get ready to move their listings. Furthermore, the vendors are to transfer their products to other darknet markets.
The administrators posted:
"We will keep the market online for a limited time until open orders are finalized, disputes handled, and coins withdrawn. We don't know how long that will take but don't expect to come back 6 months from now and find the market up."
What Is this popular market?
The WHM is a darknet marketplace that enables the trading of illegal goods. The operators launched the site in 2019. This was just a few months before the exit of Wall Street Market. The White House Market is only accessible through the Tor browser.
The WHM reigned the black marketplace over its 2-year operation. Also, the WHM is known in the dark web for its strong security practices. Evidently, the site enforced all communication via PGP. Moreover, they only accepted cryptocurrency, particularly Monero, for transactions.
The site grew significantly over the years. At its closure, it had 49,352 active listings. In addition to that, it had about 3,450 active sellers. Furthermore, the site had a whopping 819,490 order feedbacks.
The robust security helped the site grow in the gap created in mid-2019. The void emerged after the Empire Market shut down. Also, the Dream Market exit scam created a gap in the market. Furthermore, they gained from the Valhalla and the Wall Street Market takedown.
Indeed, their retirement will leave a significant hole in the darknet market economy.
Features of White House Market
As we said earlier, the White House Market website had some striking features. The site offered you a lot to keep up with. Like its dark web counterparts, the site offered the essential elements of the darknet markets. Even so, there are fundamental features that you should consider before venturing into the black market. These features include PGP and 2-factor authentication.
Additional features of the marketplace include:
Mirror links for I2P and Tor Browser
Zero buyer fee and only 5% vendor fee
Access to partial refunds in case of disagreements
Escrow transaction system
PGP encrypted mirror lists
XMPP notification systems for both vendor and buyer
What Products Were Available in the Market?
The White House Market advertised a wealth of illegal products. Still, it was mainly known for its narcotics section. Most sellers in the marketplace operate across European territories.
The site also traded other products. These include malware, carding, and counterfeiting-related services. It also sold military-grade gear like body armor, weapons, jamming equipment. According to The Record, they also dealt with communications gear.
But Where Will the Sellers and Buyers Head To?
Undoubtedly, the darknet economy never slows down due to a marketplace shutdown. On the contrary, it's only a matter of identifying the next marketplace. So, where will the sellers and buyers flock to?
Fortunately, WHM's goodbye message left some clues. It suggested some select types of dark web markets for its users. They commented:
"…any market can disappear at any time and for whatever reason (exit scam, law enforcement operation, hack, technical issue and so on), but markets like Monopoly (true wallet-less, direct deal) and Versus (enforced multisig) greatly minimize damage. You can also give a chance to new markets; we all have to start somewhere."
The Rise of AlphaBay Market
Adding to WHM's recommendation, the AlphaBay market has gained popularity. The marketplace experienced an abrupt revival last month. The AlphaBay market was a prevalent market back from 2014 to 2017.
However, the market disappeared after a raid by the law enforcement agencies. The authorities tracked down the site's operators. Moreover, they accessed the servers that hosted the market.
But DeSnake, AlphaBay's ex-administrator, has relaunched the famous darknet marketplace. Will WHM's retirement give it the push it needs to reclaim its throne? Well, some Dread users think it will.
But we are sure of one thing, the marketplace saw the opportunity and took it. AlphaBay removes the seller registration fee on its platform. This is a move to accommodate any seller migrating from White House Market.
Earlier this year, analysts predicted the rise of WHM after DarkMarket shut down. They experienced the market's rise as foreseen. However, the WHM has now retired. So, who will become the new leader of the black marketplace?