Evolution, the major bitcoin marketplace for drugs, weapons and stolen credit cards, went offline. Customers, shocked to lose their money, say that Ross Ulbricht would have never done such a thievery.

The unsuspected closure of the anonymous market Evolution is, in the eyes of some observers, “the biggest scam of the darknet markets so far”. During the last weekend, Evolution stopped bitcoin withdrawals from the website, pleading technical difficulties. On Tuesday 17th the marketplace simply vanished, with all the money stored in users’ accounts. 

The panic that was already brewing exploded after a Reddit post by the user NSWGreat, self-styled Evolution drug dealer and public relations officer. He told that the two main admins of the site, known as Verto and Kimble, closed the site and took the money. He pretended to have lost himself $20,000 in this scam. Later a Reddit post signed by Verto himself appeared where he told that “due to other marketplaces getting shut down” he “decided to exit with an eight figure profit”. He furthermore told that he was going to move to the Caribbean.

The news generated a great shock on Reddit, with many users leaving messages of sadness and desperation, some threatening Verto and Kimble and others demanding what would be the life of two people who robbed thousands of drug dealers at one time. The information, however, is still scarce. Some assume that the site owners could be caught by government or by mafia, or else that the site could be temporarily suspended for one reason or another and would soon reopen. 

Some users compare owners of Evolution with Ross Ulbricht, founder of Silk Road stating that “Ross… would have never pulled this kind of deliberate, underhand, spineless thievery”. The funds are supposedly on the bitcoin address 1Ps2m56aEudGVKj7ch8mAje4x6bBzGVNgU, totaling 43,153 BTC (over $12 million).

A similar story took place in December 2013, when the anonymous bitcoin Sheep marketplace shut up. Customers lost 5,400 BTC, worth around $6 million at the time. 

Evolution, launched on January 14th, 2014, soon became one of the most prominent marketplaces in the Dark Web. It was known to have more lax rules, trading not only in drugs, but also in weapons, stolen credit and identity cards and other items that were forbidden on Silk Road. However, there were some goods that Evolution refused to sell, notably child pornography and killer services.

The news comes when the tribunals are busy prosecuting members of Silk Road. As CoinFox recently reported, one more Silk Road moderator pleaded guilty in New York court.