Marketplaces on the Dark Web(4/4)
Rare Items and Urban Legends
After outlining the goods and services frequently sold on the dark web, we will now look at some less common categories.
1 – Rare Items
a) Rhodium for sale
Besides standard merchandise like drugs and weapons, some dark web marketplaces sell rarer or more unusual products. For example, the Dark Store site (which has since disappeared) listed 1 kg of rhodium for 24,000 euros. It was a bit strange for a dark web shop to sell this metal, used in industry or jewellery making. The price was also suspicious since a kilogram of rhodium goes for around 800,000 euros in official markets.
The Dark Store site did not just sell rhodium, weapons, drugs, and fake banknotes. It also offered graphic cards, underwear supposedly worn by a woman, and Random Secret Boxes that could contain items sold on the site. It even offered a lottery system with various prizes. This very unusual, even far-fetched site, which should have aroused suspicions, disappeared in November 2021, with no known mirrors to date.
This site has a very cynical tone and claims to source its products from illegal African mines. It states that they feed and house their employees, but do not pay them.
Ethics according to Gold & Diamonds
The Gold & Diamonds home page has two tabs entitled “Get in EU Free” and “Free EU Refuge 4 Women”. The site promises to obtain refugee status in an EU country for African men if they work for Gold & Diamonds in the EU for three years.
c) Sale of rare animals
The Gold & Diamonds site also sells rhino horns, but this does not seem to be a key part of their “business”. However, some sites do specialise in the sale of ivory or protected species. For example, the defunct Dark Jungle site connected buyers and sellers of exotic animals and sold ivory products and clothing made from endangered animal skins.
The Dark Jungle also seems to have experienced a rapid extinction since we detected its presence in January 2021, as it disappeared by March.
2 – Urban legends
a) hitman services
Many sites on the dark web offer hitmen services for hire. For several thousand euros, clients can designate a target for assassination, or request an assault at a lower rate. Fees vary according to the damage the client wants to be inflicted on their target.
We will conclude our review of the dark web’s offerings with two categories that have garnered media attention in recent years: hitman services and Red Rooms.
Most of the sites offering these services are likely scams of some kind. However, recent news stories seem to indicate that there is a real offering on the dark web.
b) Red Rooms
In a similar vein, we will conclude with the legendary Red Rooms. According to rumours complacently shared by media channels to generate clicks, Red Rooms are torture and execution sessions broadcast live on the dark web. Supposedly, viewers can pay to watch these sessions via streaming, and pay a higher rate to direct the session by giving orders to the torturer.
We doubt these Red Rooms exist for two reasons. The first relates to the Tor network itself, since its relative slowness makes it unsuitable for live broadcasting. However, the pages on the dark web may simply serve as a purchasing interface, with buyers receiving a link to a faster network. The second relates to the countdown displayed on the Red Room home page. We have noticed that almost all the 1,250+ mirrors show the same countdown: 10 days, 6 hours, and 21 minutes until the next session, regardless of when you visit the site.
To be clear, we are not claiming that all the sites we mentioned are just tourist traps. Some offerings do seem genuine and present a very real threat on several levels. However, we must remain sensible and avoid overindulging in fantasies about the dark web.