The Exit Scam of World Market - The Full Story

04/05/2022Darknet News

World Market was in a lot of trouble as it experiences community backlash due to poor site admin administration, site data loss, and Nightmare Market’s admin whistleblowing Lovelace’s past. It has now officially exit scammed.

Almost any darknet market user would be aware of who World Market is. World Market has over 200K users, 10K products, and over 900 vendors, making it the largest English-Speaking darknet market currently active. The market had a recent boost after Dark0de Rebord performed an exit scam. The site simply works for the average darknet user wanting to get his fix, and it’s available worldwide. This is why it grew to the number one market in just under two years. However, since World Market was established in 2020, it quickly drew attention for the wrong reasons.

DDoS Attacks And Lots Of Money

From the day World Market (WM) started, it had large amounts of funds. Darknet Users saw WM advertisements on every corner of every website. Most users just saw this as usual marketing, but many questioned how a small and brand new market had the funds to pay for so much advertisement. It is now clear they paid using exit scam money.

The website was really well built and the servers rarely went down. At the same time, many markets were subject to DDoS attacks, while WM was up and running. It was clear WM was the reason for the smaller market DDoS attacks. When their SubDread was flooded with users complaining about this, the Admin got frustrated and decided to make his own World Forum: “World Market support and its staff will move to an own hosted forum that is expected to be launched today. In the sidebar, you will see the forum, and all support will be through the World Market or World Forum.

“World Market support and its staff will move to an own hosted forum that is expected to be launched today. In the sidebar, you will see the forum, and all support will be through the World Market or World Forum.” – Lovelace, World Markets Admin
A few days later u/HugBunter, a Dread Admin, informed users he would be banning the market and explained that he believes World Markets admin is the same as Icarus Markets was. “There is an overwhelming amount of evidence to suggest that World Market is former Icarus Market which exit scammed last year. I have viewed discussions within the World Market support system that not only backs this up, but verifies evidence of communication between multiple parties, relating to their plans to launch multiple markets, exit scam with the first launched, rinse and repeat.” -u/HugBunter

It seems over time the users forgot what had happened, as WM joined dread again, and the market’s userbase grew drastically. WM was involved in multiple DDoS scandals and is likely the market that caused Monopoly and Cartel Market to close shop. It’s been clear that WM plays dirty, and there was never a doubt they would leave in a dirty way too.

Nightmare Market Whistleblower.

In 2019, a massive darknet market called Nightmare Market performed an exit scam. The admin didn’t attempt to hide this fact but just went with it. He had taken all of his own community members’ funds and left with it. Every now and then he would pop up on Dread with a comment. However big news struck on February 24th as the former scammer admin posted on dread exposing LoveLace’s past.

In a dread post by u/nightmaremarket titled “The truth about World Market – take it from someone who knows!” the admin released a ton of information.

The admin PGP signed the post to make sure users knew it was really him. He first explained his reasoning for the post was due to the fact that Lovelace had not sent the funds promised to u/Nightmarmarket. He claimed he played a part in WM and its success. He then confirmed information regarding Nightmare Market’s involvement with WM. Information from the dread post includes:

  • Lovelace was an admin in Nightmare market
  • World Market and Royal Market were both Nightmare Market staff moving on to their next Market.
  • World Market managed to do the mass marketing at startup with Nightmare Market exit scam money.
  • WM was involved in the DDoS attacks during the start of the year (no surprise)
  • Lovelace has already prepared for his next major market, which apparently is Kerberos Market.
  • WM jacked-up vendor bonds as a final effort before exiting.
  • All markets selective scam (though this could be speculation with good reason)

The market admin ended his message by claiming that “You can call all of this FUD if you want but ask yourself why everything makes sense. If Lovelace didn’t betray me I would never be posting this, but fuck him. I want his empire to crumble. Of course, World will deny everything but they know everything I say is 100% true.”

If you would like to view his full post you can do so here: http://dreadytofatroptsdj6io7l3xptbet6onoyno2yv7jicoxknyazubrad.onion/post/d01b3750e9320def61f7

Although it may have been taken down as just FUD, Dread’s head admin u/Paris replied to the post saying that “this is quite the bombshell.” He further confirmed the Nightmare Market PGP signature and claimed that “This isn’t FUD and confirms other information we had but didn’t have the proof to go forward on. We finally do.” Paris then banned WM and Kerberos shortly after from the Dread Forum, as well as disabled their ads.

“If you are a user or vendor of World Market the boat will be burning soon. Jump ship while you can with what you can. It’s going to get nasty. “– Paris, Dread admin

Other market admins weighed in such as AlphaBay’s DeSnake who claimed that ” I believe it is time for the Dread admins to take matters in their own hands and ban this market as they are clearly cancer to the community.” Versus Market admin, William Gibson took it in a different light claiming that the Nightmare admin could have been paid off to say this, though he fully believes WM will exit scam. “If it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, it’s likely a duck”

Further Drama, Database Corrupt?

Just a few days after Nightmare Markets whistleblow, the market started going through some heavy issues. The market received a massive update with a completely new UI. While this was all pretty, it had one massive flaw. Everybody’s accounts were missing, and all data from the past six months had disappeared.

In a move that nobody asked for, WM updated its entire User Interface. However, instead of a few frontend touch up, the team claims that they changed both the frontend and backend data. This seemed to be a positive look on the site, because “why invest money into a new design and exit scam?”

While their logic behind doing this is still unclear, it seems likely that WM admins wanted to try pull and exit scam and keep the site running. Their hopes would be that users would believe them and stay loyal and keep using the site.

Needless to say, the launch of the new interface was a disaster. All of WM data from the last 6 months “went missing” due to a “corrupt database.” When the user’s funds were showing, they were unable to withdraw. Deposits, and making new accounts, were still working.

After many WM complained about the site issues, Dark.Fail made their first call in a tweet. “WARNING: World Market users are reporting missing cryptocurrency deposits and very late withdrawals.” Only a few moments later, WM staff member u/Makarov explained that there is an issue with the database and that user’s should “Stay off the market till we give the all-clear; the database is being synced. I will be a couple of hours, be patient, please.”

The next day Makarov returned with an update. “I am just chatting with the server team. They are saying 1-2 hours, so I am going to say 3-4 to be safe for the World market to be back online.” A few days later he returned again, claiming that “The database sync has failed because of a corrupt backup. The admin and server teams are working hard to get us back up and running.

“I want you to know that I believe in this team, and we are working hard to get the market back up and running. We are in no way trying to exit, and I hope that we get these issues resolved. At this point, I cannot give any timeline.”

Many vendors and WM users were clearly upset about them still keeping the servers running, and although the staff attempted to change user’s perspectives, the market was going down. This is an exit scam.

World Market Closing Shop Confirmed

While there was a chance that the database was simply corrupt, the reality is that WM more than likely exit scammed. Dark.Fail called their bluff on the database excuse. “ALERT: World Market is suddenly “missing” many users’ accounts and deposits. Users report that only small withdrawals are processed. Their site strangely switched to an old design. This is looking like an exit scam.”

u/Paris send Makarov a message saying that “When it’s back up send me a message. You guys are aware of how this looks though so hopefully it doesn’t take too long.” The Dread community were unhappy that Paris even gave the market a second look.

Finally, Makarov returned on March 26th to confirm that WM is closing shop. Makarov posted for the last time on d/WorldMarket with the title “The status of World Market.”

“The time has come that the World Market team must close shop. The team tried to fix numerous technical issues over the past week but could not recover what has been lost. We have worked hard to be the best market and to serve the community. As much as I care for everyone at World Market, I also care about the vendors and buyers, and it would not be fair to continue at this point. Regards” -Makarov

There is no doubt that the team is already working on their next market. We often see the largest markets perform their exit at their APEX, WM did it during a bit of a rough patch which was unusual. But it seems like it’s just another exit scam.

The servers are officially down, and all funds will not be given back to the users. Some users claimed they lost up to $70,000. At the moment many other markets are running specials in hopes to grab the vendors looking for a new home. The real question is, which market will exit next? It’s sad to see it, but we are using the dark web. Let us know who you think will exit next in the comments.