Dread Forum, which is recognized as the successor to DeepDotWeb was created and launched by "HugBunter" in early 2018. After a short downtime (see "Hacking incident" below) it was relaunched and its UI was completely remade to provide better security. Dread Forum is often referred to as 'The reddit of the Darknet". This is because when visiting the site you will immediately be reminded of reddit. the user interface is basically a clone. This means you can create not only your own threads but also your own subreddit.
But the main reason for the alternative is its approach to censorship: There is basically no moderation happening at all: Created subreddits will not be deleted and users are free to post any content they like. Commonly this revolves around drug-related matters. There are only a few exceptions: It is prohibited to disclose any private information (doxing) and also it is not allowed to share any information about sources for raw materials needed to manufacture drugs, since this would "ruin it for everyone". And lastly, it is against the policy to offer any drugs for sale since Dread is a Forum and not a marketplace. If you are looking for a site to buy and sell drugs, you should go to other sites like Tochka Market. The subreddit "DarkNetMarkets" also is where you can find drug market sites recommended by users.
There is only a rule against selling directly, it is perfectly okay to advertise sites where you can buy and sell drugs. It goes without saying, that all content on dread is being encrypted before being sent to the servers. This is a standard procedure on most darknet sites.
While the Dread platform can be used for casual conversations as well, it really shows a focus on drug-related matters. It will not only discuss the procedures of manufacturing drugs (you can find complete tutorials there) but also how to handle shipping and the best ways to move it across borders. Regarding the manufacturing, it can go very much into detail and professional methods: Like how to obtain pill pressing machines without falling under suspicion by the authorities.
In autumn 2019, Dread went suddenly offline but came back online in November with improved functionality like improvements for the UI, the introduction of chatrooms and an overall increase in performance. While there were rumors about the site being compromised, HugBunter explained in a statement that the downtime was caused due to a server crash. Since he was already working on the new, improved version of Dread, he used the downtime to completely rebuild the infrastructure and relaunched the new version of Dread in November.
There will be always rumors about a platform being compromised whenever any darknet site goes down for an extended time but there is no evidence that this was the case. But as it always applies to any site of the darknet, you should always be aware that it is a possibility that sites can be compromised, this does not necessarily require a downtime. For protection, read the section about security recommendations below.
Only because there are no direct selling or buying activities on the site, doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of possible scams. Since advertising is allowed, you should be careful - as usual - what links to follow.
Apart from that, the standard security recommendations apply: We recommend a dedicated device or at least a dedicated VM for all your darknet activities, including forums like Dread. Also be aware that you should avoid any kind of information that could reveal your real identity - even if it is only a small piece and not helpful on its own, if you drop enough pieces it may still be possible to identify you.
Dread is probably one of the best forums for drug-related matters on the darknet. Since its launch it grew rapidly: Within just three months it amassed 12,000 users - quicker than any other darknet forum before.
Dread doesn't only serve as a place to exchange information about Darknet developments but also as a general chating place: It is one of the more friendly communities in the Darknet with users chatting about various topics, not all related to the darknet matters. But of course, primarily the site serves as a go-to location for anyone interested in matters that cannot be discussed on the clearnet.
The news outlet Vice called it "the go-to platform for aspiring drug manufacturers" - what better recommendation can you get?