In this guide we explain everything you need to know to get connected to the Abacus darknet market.
Abacus Market is a relatively new darknet market that got started as AlphaBet in early 2020. To avoid confusion with the recently-revamped AlphaBay, the market renamed itself Abacus, and has since outgrown AlphaBay. It features close to 21,000 listings at present, including a massive selection of listings for drugs and pharmaceuticals. The market also contains a hefty digital goods section. Signing up for Abacus market is a bit of a chore compared to some others, but it offers enough features to make veteran market users feel comfortable with the operation.
In addition to inspiring their original namesake, Abacus is also modeled in design after the old AlphaBay, which the admins describe as “the most friendly and intuitive layout that the darknet has ever seen.” At the same time, they claim that the market has been coded completely from scratch and built from the ground up. Indeed, Abacus resembles AlphaBay but has a lot of modern features built into it, such as support for XMR and BTC multisig transactions, and the ability to differentiate different levels of FE (100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% of payment FE’d upon delivery).
With the exception of banning fentanyl (and the usual blacklisted items), Abacus Market seems fairly liberal in terms of what they will allow to be listed. They are one of the last major markets to feature a giant section for fraudulently-obtained data, including personal info, credit cards, and various data dumps. The market also features thousands of other digital items; some of which may be hard to find elsewhere. It also says it offers user support “24/7”, though we didn’t have time to test them on that.
Besides heavily borrowing from the template of the world’s most famous darknet markets, Abacus has a few other problems that can’t go unnoticed. For one, the captcha system it employs is unforgiving and can be difficult to pass. The lack of direct (per-order) payment options is a bit frustrating, as is the near complete reliance on the traditional market escrow system. It’s hard to find a vendor willing to accept BTC multisig escrow, which means everyone is at the mercy of the market to do the right thing. Other than these issues, Abacus seems like a perfectly suitable darknet market, and it has indeed exploded in popularity over the last few months, in particular.
Basic Facts about Abacus Market
- Abacus Market link: abacusc6b742s3bxavsp36x7ux2pagyqbjovmp26xrifcaabfwdnuad
- Year founded: 2021
- Cryptocurrencies accepted: Bitcoin (BTC), Monero (XMR)
- Total Product/Service listings: 21,000+
- Listing Categories: Drugs & Chemicals, Counterfeit Items, Digital Products, Fraud, Guides & Tutorials, Jewels & Gold, Carded Items, Services, Software & Malware, Security & Hosting, Other Listings
- Multi-signature escrow? Yes
- Finalize Early? Yes
- Cost of vendor bond: $300 (waived for established vendors)
Before Getting Started
Before attempting to use Abacus Market or any darknet market, you must have at least an intermediate level of understanding of the following subjects:
- Tor. You must have the Tor browser installed and know how to use it in a way that maximizes your online privacy.
- Cryptocurrency. You must know how to send, receive, and store cryptocurrency; chiefly Bitcoin and Monero. We recommend learning how to use Monero and depositing that for the clear benefits its obfuscated blockchain provides over Bitcoin.
- OpSec. You must be familiar with the idea of Operations Security, or OpSec. This involves breaking any connection between your real-world identity and online identities. A principal example of OpSec would be never depositing crypto to your market account straight from an exchange.
Disclaimer: This guide is for research purposes only and should not be construed to be advice; legal or otherwise. The authors of this guide do not condone activities that are illegal in your jurisdiction or others. Use the contents of this guide and/or Abacus Market at your own risk.
Don’t Get Phished
As Abacus Market has exploded in popularity over the last few months, it is now the subject of many imitators hoping to trick users into depositing funds on a bogus site. These are known as phishing sites and often snare users who find their links on Reddit or market lists from unverified sources. To avoid this, we recommend using the same URL each time and never looking for links randomly on the internet.
Creating an Account
After you’re sure you’ve found a verified market link and opened it, you’ll first need to solve a particularly annoying captcha as the market is often the attempt of DDOS attacks. Upon arriving at the login page for the first time, you’ll need to go up to the Register tab and click it to get started creating an account. A bit more advanced than most, this is what the account creation screen looks like:
Note that the most pressing detail of the login process is the fact that it is timed, and you are limited to 2 minutes before the captcha expires and you have to enter in everything again. Be sure to fill all the required fields:
- Private Username: this is the username you will log into the market with.
- Public Username: this is the name that will be displayed on your market account for vendors to see.
- Password (twice): we recommend using at least 8 characters; preferably a random mix of letters, numbers, and special symbols (never re-use an old password on a darknet market).
- PIN (twice): a 6-digit code you will need to enter to confirm a purchase.
- Login Phrase: a phrase that will be displayed to you each time you long in the market so that way you can be sure you arrived at the right site (and not a phishing site).
Remember that if you don’t enter the above information in time before the captcha expires, you will need to re-enter it again. After continuing, you’ll be transported back to the login page. This time you can log in with your private username and password. After logging in, you’ll be greeted with a mnemonic, which is a string of letters and numbers.
Heed warning to the advice giving in the screenshot above as you won’t be able to recover your account without this mnemonic. After you’ve saved it someplace safely and pasted it into the text box, press “Continue”. The account registration process will be completed, and you will be free to start browsing the market.
Setting a PGP Key
You will need to attach a PGP public key to your account in order to communicate with other members of the market. To do this, click the top-center Profile tab and scroll down past the profile information text box (we recommend you leave this area blank) until you see the text box for Security Settings. This is where you will paste your PGP public key, which will look something like this when correctly entered:
Be sure to enter your PIN above the text box before continuing. Scrolling down a bit, you’ll see you are presented with the following options (we explain what each one means below):
- 2FA: Enable or disable requirement of the decryption of a message with your corresponding PGP private key each time you want to log into the market.
- Purchases 1: Turn your account’s ability to make purchases on or off. You will be required to decrypt a message in order to change this option.
- Purchases 2: Turn the requirement of PIN entry to make a purchase on or off.
Once you are happy with your settings, press “Save Changes” at the bottom of the screen to continue. You will then be brought back to the Profile screen and presented with a new message that says “Your profile was updated. Still, you need to decrypt the message below to confirm and save your new PGP.” To do this, scroll back down to the Security Settings area and find the encrypted message. Copy the entire contents of the message, decrypt it using your PGP utility, and paste the decrypted contents in the text box below. The code should look something like this when pasted:
Don’t forget to re-enter your PIN as you did when setting the PGP key before continuing. After entering your PIN, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and click “Save Changes”. If the code was entered correctly, you will once again be brought to the top of the profile screen with a new message that says “Your profile was updated.”
Notice how there are other options in the profile area. Keep in mind that this is also where you will add your Bitcoin public key for multisig escrow purposes (should you manage to find a vendor that accepts that option) and refund address. Here you can also change your password, PIN, theme options and even search settings.
Making a Deposit
Abacus Market accepts both Bitcoin and Monero for deposit. We recommend sticking with Monero because of its privacy-enhanced blockchain, but there are certain situations where Bitcoin may be more appropriate (multisig escrow transactions, for example, which are supported by Abacus). We also recommend not depositing more than is needed for one transaction at a time. This way losses are minimized in case the market goes down for whatever reason.
To make a deposit, click the “Wallets” menu option toward the top middle of the screen. This will bring up your assigned BTC and XMR deposit addresses, with the BTC address displayed by default.
To make an XMR deposit, simply flip to the Monero tab. Be sure to read the instructions before making a deposit. Note that each address is good for one deposit only, and new addresses are auto-generated after the first deposit has been confirmed. BTC deposits require 3 confirmations by the network before appearing in your balance, whereas XMR deposits require “several transactions” (usually about half an hour minimum). It is also possible to make withdrawals on Abacus Market for a small fee.
Browsing Abacus Market
Abacus is one of the bigger darknet markets currently in operation, with close to 12,000 listings currently in the Drugs & Chemicals section alone (this is almost half the market’s current listings). The market has managed to attract quite a few vendors after the recent slew of closures left many without a home. Vendors service all parts of the world, with many offering worldwide shipping.
Items on Abacus are divided into the following categories (and subcategories):
- Drugs (Benzos, Cannabis & Hashish, Dissociatives, Ecstasy, Opioids, Paraphernalia, Prescription, Psychedelics, Steroids, Stimulants, Tobacco, Weight Loss, Other)
- Counterfeit Items (Clothing, Electronics, Jewelry, Money, Fake IDs, Other)
- Digital Products (E-Books, Erotica, Fraud Software, Game Keys, Legit Software, Other)
- Fraud (Accounts & Bank Drops, CVV & Cards, Dumps, Personal Information & Scans, Other)
- Guides & Tutorials (Drugs, Fraud, Hacking, Security & Anonymity, Social Engineering, Other)
- Jewels & Gold (Gold, Silver, Other)
- Carded Items (Appliances, Clothing, Digital, Electronics, Other)
- Services (Social Engineering, Carding, Other)
- Software & Malware (Botnets & Malware, Exploits, Exploit Kits, Security Software, Other)
- Security & Hosting (Hosting, VPN, Socks, Shells, Cpanels, Other)
- Other Listings
This market features a nice selection of search and filter features to make it extra easy to home in on the item for which you are searching. Listings can be filtered by vendor name, ships to/from, category (including multiple categories), product type and price range. They can even be filtered by currency accepted, FE vs escrow orders, and multisig options. Results can then be sorted by several different criteria.
Listing previews display a lot of information without even having to click on it:
Here we can see pertinent item details, such as the price in BTC and XMR, ships from/to info, quantity remaining for sale, feedback stats, and the vendor’s “Level”, which is assigned based on the amount of experience they have. This particular vendor has also earned Trusted status on the market by completing a lot of sales with a high positive feedback rate. Clicking on “View Item” reveals additional information about it:
Here we see an expanded description of the listing, as well as other photographs (if there are any), and an advanced breakdown of the vendor’s experience. We can tell that the vendor has 73 total sales on Abacus Market, with 0 of them being this particular product. We can also tell that this vendor has a lot of prior experience at other markets, where they completed a total of 3454 sales; 98% of which earned them positive feedback. Finally, we can see the vendor’s shipping options.
Scrolling down below this reveals 3 additional tabs: Description, Feedback, and Refund Policy. We recommend taking the time to give the Feedback and Refund Policy tabs a read through when dealing with a vendor for the first time. This will help you to understand what they expect from you when placing an order, and what you should expect from them. Take a moment to also read the refund policy to avoid problems regarding disputes later.
Clicking on a vendor name will bring up even more stats about them.
Here we can see important info about the vendor, such as a breakdown of their positive, neutral, and negative reviews, the number of disputes they’ve been involved with (and their outcome), whether they are FE enabled, their join date, last time online, average processing time, and their customer ratings for stealth, quality, and delivery. We recommend always choosing experienced vendors, especially when given a choice, as this decision can be the difference between a good darknet market experience and a bad. You want a vendor who has been around the block a few times and know what they’re doing. Let the newbies break their first sales with other buyers.
Placing an Order
After you’ve found an item you wish to purchase, selected the preferred shipping method and quantity to purchase, click “Buy” after making sure you have the required amount of coin available in your account balance. Granted the amount is covered by your balance, you will then be transported to the checkout screen. This is where you will enter your encrypted shipping information. Be sure to encrypt this information yourself using the vendor’s PGP key. Failure to do this is a big no-no and considered to be a principal violation of OpSec.
After double-checking to make sure your shipping information is encrypted, you’re now ready to place the order. The vendor will be notified and begin preparing it for shipping. After the item has been received and the buyer has determined it to be to their satisfaction, they then finalize the order, releasing the funds to the vendor. Finalizing an order promptly after reception and inspection is considered to be proper darknet market etiquette, rather than leaving them hanging and waiting for auto-finalization. If this is a FE order, be sure to mark the order as finalized as soon as the vendor says it has been shipped.
If upon receiving your order you determine it is not to your satisfaction – or you never receive it at all – it is possible to open a dispute. This will cause the market to look into the situation and determine whether or not the buyer is owed a refund. Disputes can be a lose/lose situation for the two parties involved, which is why we recommend trying to work with the vendor to resolve an issue before resorting to the dispute process. Professional vendors realize the importance of maintaining a good reputation among the community and will go out of their way to make sure their customers are happy, so consider attempting to work with them first before filing a dispute.
Abacus Market url: abacusc6b742s3bxavsp36x7ux2pagyqbjovmp26xrifcaabfwdnuad
Though starting with shaky beginnings and accusations of ripping off AlphaBay, Abacus Market has since grown larger in size than its inspiring competition, benefiting from the closure of prominent markets like White House and ToRReZ. The market is not perfect as it mostly relies on the traditional market escrow system, but it does offer a lot of flexibility in terms of browsing not seen with other markets. Abacus admins also maintain a steady presence on the Dread forum, ready to answer questions and resolve issues among their users.
So long as basic precautions are used, Abacus seems like a worthy darknet market and has come a long way. It may attract heat due to its heavy assortment of data-related listings, but for the time being it is one of the world’s biggest darknet markets currently in operation.