Evolution (marketplace)

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Evolution Marketplace Logo.png
Type of site
Darknet market
Available inEnglish
URLk5zq47j6wd3wdvjq.onion (defunct)[1][2]
LaunchedJanuary 2014
Current statusOffline
An analysis of the defunct Evolution marketplace shows the different types of products and vendors on a market[3]

Evolution was a darknet market operating on the Tor network. The site was founded by an individual known as 'Verto' who also founded the now defunct Tor Carding Forum.[4]

Launched January 14, 2014, it saw rapid growth within its first several months, helped in part by law enforcement seizures of some of its competitors during the six-month-long investigation codenamed Operation Onymous.[5] Speaking about why Evolution was not part of Operation Onymous, the head of the European police cybercrimes division said it was "because there's only so much we can do on one day."[6] Wired estimated that as of November 2014 it was one of the two largest drug markets.[7][8]

Evolution was similar to other darknet markets in its prohibitions, disallowing "child pornography, services related to murder/assassination/terrorism, prostitution, ponzi schemes, and lotteries".[8] Where it most prominently differed was in its more lax rules concerning stolen credit cards and others kinds of fraud, permitting, for example, the wholesaling of credit card data.[8][9]

In mid-March 2015, administrators froze its users escrow accounts, disallowing withdrawals, citing technical difficulties.[10] Evolution had earned a reputation not just for its security, but also for its professionalism and reliability, with an uptime rate much higher than its competition.[11][10] Partly for that reason, when the site went offline a few days later, on March 18, the user community panicked.[10] The shut down was discovered to be an exit scam, with the operators of the site shutting down abruptly in order to steal the approximately $12 million in bitcoins it was holding as escrow.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Reddit - Dive into anything".
  2. ^ Branwen, Gwern (30 October 2013). "Darknet Market mortality risks". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ Compton, Ryan (24 March 2015). "Darknet Market Basket Analysis". ryancompton.net. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
  4. ^ Wired Staff (1 January 2015). "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now". Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  5. ^ James Cook (7 November 2014). "More Details Emerge Of How Police Shut Down Over 400 Deep Web Marketplaces As Part Of 'Operation Onymous'". UK Business Insider. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
  6. ^ "Raids on underground 'Darknet' websites". DW. 7 November 2014.
  7. ^ Greenberg, Andy (6 November 2014). "Not Just Silk Road 2: Feds Seize Two Other Drug Markets and Counting". Wired.
  8. ^ a b c Greenberg, Andy (18 September 2014). "The Dark Web Gets Darker With Rise of the 'Evolution' Drug Market". Wired. Retrieved 24 May 2015.
  9. ^ McCluskey, Brent (23 September 2014). "Evolution Replaces Silk Road as New Online Drug Market". The Fix.
  10. ^ a b c Greenberg, Andy (18 March 2015). "The Dark Web's Top Drug Market, Evolution, Just Vanished". Wired.
  11. ^ Glance, David. "Despite Darknet drug market arrests and seizures, can they be stopped?". The Conversation.
  12. ^ Krebs, Brian (2015-03-18). "Dark Web's 'Evolution Market' Vanishes". Krebs on Security. Retrieved 2015-03-18.
  13. ^ Woolf, Nicky (2015-03-18). "Bitcoin 'exit scam': deep-web market operators disappear with $12m". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-18.