Admins behind the longest-running English-language darknet market, Tor Market, stated last Thursday their intentions to temporarily close shop for a period between two and six months, disabling the placement of new orders at the end of this month. In a PGP-signed post to the NZ Darknet Market Forums onion site, an account named TormarketSupport stated that the market “needs to take a break from operation” after having been “running 24/7 for five years.”
The message was also posted on the market itself, highlighted on its main page where it is visible to all users.
The main reason for the market’s closure – which is said to be temporary – appears to be an unanticipated high number of underpaid BTC payments for Direct Pay orders, which currently account for 21% of all such orders, per stats provided by the market’s community liaison. TormarketSupport explained in subsequent forum posts the underfunded payments, usually caused by unanticipated spikes in transaction fees, posed a problem for their software as they “never envisaged that so many buyers would pay the wrong amount.”
Message posted to NZ Darknet Market Forums about the temporary closure.
They also stated that BTC payments currently account for about 2/3 of all orders whereas XMR payments account for the remaining third.
Among the improvements vowed by Tor Market after its return are a “better layout, improved support system and a solution to the problem of running direct pay when blockchain fees are high.”
A drugs-only marketplace, Tor Market is one of the few darknet markets in which all orders are paid using the Direct Pay (per order) payment method, meaning there are no user accounts which must be pre-funded before placing an order. This renders the market less inclined to conduct an exit scam but introduces problems not associated with traditional market escrow payment systems.
“This has been the best, most well run marketplace in history,” wrote NZ Darknet Market Forums member PredatorLabs in a comment under TormarketSupport’s post. “Great admin, great customers, no exit scams, just the straight up agorism this blockchain technology was designed for,” they added.
Tor Market is based in New Zealand and received media coverage last October in which its longevity was noted as an outlier when compared to most other darknet markets.
According to the forum post, the market is scheduled to go offline sometime in April after it has processed outstanding escrow payments and dispute resolutions.