Last night, the online drug market known as Evolution abruptly vanished, taking vast sums of escrowed bitcoin with it, in what some users are already describing as a classic exit scam. According to Wired, the site had halted withdrawals over the weekend, citing technical difficulties, but dropped off the web entirely just after 8PM on Tuesday. The site's moderators tried to calm users in the hours after the downtime, but they had little hard information as to the cause of the outage.
"Verto and Kimble have fucked us all."
Millions of dollars had passed through the marketplace since its inception, and because of its centralized escrow system, the site's founder would have had access to any money kept in accounts for pending transactions. Within hours of the outage, users were already crying foul. "I am so sorry, but [Evolution founders] Verto and Kimble have fucked us all," wrote one user in a Reddit post. "I have over $20,000 in escrow myself from sales. I can't fucking believe it, absolute scum."
Launched last year in the wake of the Silk Road takedown, Evolution distinguished itself with its willingness to deal in stolen credit card data and weapons, compared with Silk Road's focus on drugs and other "victimless contraband." In September, Wired's Andy Greenberg counted more than 15,000 products for sale in the marketplace, similar to the variety available on Silk Road 2 at its peak. The attention would have made Evolution a tempting target for law enforcement, but the latest downtime doesn't show any of the seizure notices or legal complaints that typically accompanied the federal raid on Silk Road 2.0, making it unlikely police are behind the recent downtime.