Whenever a new marketplace springs up, a lot of questions revolving around it do too, one such new face in the industry is Empire Market and this Empire Market review aims to bring to light some of the most important aspects related to a marketplace.
We’ve vetted its security, user-interface, availability of products, search-functionality, currency-support and everything else which we’re scribbling down here.
Fair warning though, the marketplace is pretty recent and hence this Empire Market review needs to be read with an isolated perspective and not a comparative one without comparing it with the more established marketplaces.
Introduction to Empire Market
The name “Empire Market” is pretty new, although not the team. They previously had a marketplace named Omega Bay market which was then changed to Empire Market.
When Omega Bay changed to Empire, they decided to use the exact same interface, layout and theme (basically looks) as the former extremely successful Darknet market- Alphabay.
It was done as a tribute to the success and service that the marketplace had provided to its users and also to keep the memory of the market’s admin Alexandar Cage’s memory alive who tragically was found hanged in his cell.
Here’s an eagle’s-eye view insight into the marketplace before starting this Empire Market review:
- Primary URL: http://empiremktxgjovhm.onion
- Mirror: http://hsqluhqe6dlfl7jaxulf7cfun6xt274btvnqvaorliem5j6sqjiwhdyd.onion/
- Registrations open.
- Age: 0.5 year. (Since February, 2018).
- Supports PGP/withdrawal pin/2FA/and Multisig too.
- Child Porn, Prostitution, Murder services banned.
- $100 Vendor Bond – Refundable.
- 2 confirmation deposits.
- BTC, Monero, Litecoin accepted.
- Independent official Forum: http://empforumgfttfqnq.onion/
- 4060 Products available.
Who and How can someone Register on Empire Market?
Empire Market registrations are free and open for everyone. The form isn’t really as long as it seems to be, no personal information is required in order to signup on the platform.
The only mandatory fields are username, password and the six-digit Pin, everything else is optional although filling them up surely increases your account security.
How Easy or Hard is it to use Empire Market?
What are the qualifications you need in order to be able to use Empire Market? Do only highly trained, skilled hackers and coders as portrayed in movies can use darknet markets?
That’s not even remotely true, anyone with the basic knowledge of how to operate a computer and use the Internet can without a problem use Empire Market. If you’ve ever ordered anything online, you already know everything you need in order to use Empire Market.
Here’s what Empire Market looks like (It sure makes ex-Alphabay users nostalgic):
The product-category is displayed on the left-sidebar, choosing the category displays the products in the category on the centre-screen, clicking on any one product brings up a screen similar to the following one:
The price, payment methods, Origin country, ships to and all other crucial details are displayed right there. Simply making the payment and providing your address details is all that’s left to finalize an order.
How do I become a Vendor on Empire Market?
In order to be a vendor, you first have to create a buyer/normal account as described in the above process.
Once you’ve got your account, you can login and click on “Become a Vendor” button from the top-bar to become a vendor.
Becoming a Vendor requires a $100.00 security deposit, this ensures you aren’t a scammer and are willing to invest some of your own money. This $100 vendor bond is returned if you close your account willingly at any given time.
The other option to obtain Vendor status is by proving you’re a trusted vendor on other established marketplaces, in this case the vendor bond is waived and you get a Vendor account absolutely free.
Which Products can you Buy on Empire Market?
Just about anything which your local shops won’t sell to you legally or aren’t available in your locality can be found on Empire Market.
You can see a “Category” section on the left-sidebar of the marketplace, this lists all the available type of products.
Currently, there are 4060 products available on the marketplace, the most heavily-stocked category being “Drugs and Chemicals” with 1587 individual listings. This category is again sub-divided into Benzos, Cannabis, Weed, Hash, Steroids, Stimulants, Psychedelics etc.
But like most other darknet markets Empire Market too isn’t just limited to Drugs, and its second category with the most number of products is “Fraud”, armed with as many as 733 products, again sub-divided into CVV, accounts and bank drops, Dumps etc.
Other available products include Digital Goods, Jewellery, Carded Items, Security and Hosting and even Weapons.
Can you get Child Porn and Hitman Services on Empire Market too?
Fortunately no. Child porn is strictly banned on the platform, along with murder services.
Prostitution too is banned, although this shouldn’t be confused with “porn”, because porn in general is allowed, such as accounts to porn sites or video packages legally filmed.
What are the Security Features offered by Empire Market?
Empire Market supports and encourages PGP encryption for starters. PGP is used to encrypt communication of sensitive information such as address, real-name etc. between the buyer and the vendor.
It also supports 2-factor authentication, again using PGP. In this case, users need to decrypt a message using their PGP key before they can login to the accounts ensuring the password isn’t your only guardian angel against hackers and other third-parties.
Then there’s the six-digit PIN which you set during registration needed to make all major changes from your account, such as funds withdrawal.
Obviously, it also has an Escrow in place which makes sure no party is scammed by the other, and hence the Payment from a buyer is first sent to Escrow, and only after successfully delivery is released to the vendor.
It also recently integrated 2 of 3 multisig transactions, which makes sure every trade transaction requires the approval of at least two of the three involved parties.
Finally, in order to secure buyers from scammers who may have got the vendor status, it displays the vendor information and history transparently showing the total trades, disputes and reviews the vendor has to his credit helping buyers judge better.
It even supports a “Login phrase” (personal phrase), again optionally can be set from the registration page, or from the account settings. It’s a phrase which is displayed on your dashboard everytime you login, verifying for you that you’re on the legit Empire Market website.
If not displayed, it signals you’re on a phishing site which looks and feels the same, but doesn’t have your login phrase proving its not legit.
How good is the Search Functionality?
The search functionality is basically how well the search function of a darknet market responds to your searches, the filters it offers and the relevance of the results it displays.
The more accurate the search results, the better the search functionality is considered to be.
The search feature for Empire Market can be found on the lower left-sidebar of the marketplace and here’s what it looks like:
The filters are pretty extensive and help us pinpoint the exact product we’re searching for, it lets us:
- Select product type.
- Select price-range.
- Filter where the product originates from.
- Check if it ships to your country.
- Set payment methods. (FE / Multtisig / Escrow).
- Choose currencies.
- And even select Vendor trust level!
So as long as you know what you’re searching for, you should quite easily find the product considering it’s available on the marketplace.
How do you make Payments to Empire Market?
This being the last section of this Empire Market review, let’s see how and using which currencies you can make payments to the platform.
Currently the marketplace accepts Litecoin, Bitcoin and also Monero which make for pretty diverse payment options. The payments are considered successful after 2 confirmations.
Also, not all vendors accept all 3 payment modes and hence which currency you can use also depends on the vendor and the product you’re going with.
Final Words on Empire Market Review
So that’s a wrap as far as this Empire Market review goes folks. Despite being less than a year old, it already has implemented Fort-Knox like security and has stocked up well over 4,000+
Obviously the market has yet to prove itself but with my own initial experience and the comments of other Empire Market users things are looking shiny for the marketplace so far.
Do let me know what are your impressions of Empire Market, its features, its future and also your drop your opinion on this Empire Market review.