Electrum - definition of electrum by The Free Dictionary

A Beginner's guide to the Darknet Markets

Hello Everyone! Today, I'm going to teach you how to access the darknet and how you can help keep yourself anonymous and safe. This guide is going to be UK-centric for the parts that are localised - like buying bitcoins.
Quick Disclaimer: Everything you do on the Darknet is at your own risk. Do your research where you feel you don't have enough information. Be informed and be educated.
Also worth mentioning is specific subreddits, they'll likely have more detailed guides for every step available: /DarkNetMarketsNoobs & /DarkNetMarkets
The most important thing to remember is that how anonymous you are on the darknet is up to you. It can take time and effort to do it properly, but ensuring your privacy and safety is important with things like this.
Okay, so here we go.

Tails - Website

Tails is an operating system that you can install to a memory stick, DVD or SD Card. You restart your computer and choose it as your boot device. Instead of windows, you'll load up on the Tails operating system. It comes with Tor built in and once you shutdown the computer your whole session will be wiped. I personally don't use tails, but it's pretty highly recommended to use it if you can, it provides a whole lot of security.
The real benefit of using Tails is that your session is wiped after you've shutdown, so there's no evidence logged onto your computer at all. So keep in mind, if you use tails, do not store a wallet on it. As soon as you shutdown, your bitcoins would be lost forever.

Tor - Website

Tor is an internet browser that you'll need to use to access the darknet. You use this to access any .onion links. Using Tor means that your internet traffic will be directed through a bunch of randomised nodes to hide your internet traffic. More information on the website.
Note: When you launch Tor, to the left of your address bar there's an 'S' symbol. Click this and disable all scripts. This will turn off Javascript - which is important because there are vulnerabilities within Javascript itself which can render your computer unsafe.

Markets

You should now have either have tails installed to a USB stick ready to boot or Tor installed to your computer. So now you'll need access to a market. I personally can recommend Agora, it's one of the longest standing markets and they've survived a lot of attacks and investigations. It can be pretty tempermental though and suffers from downtime occasionally. The other most used market is BlackBank but I don't have any personal experience with this.
Agora - http://agorahooawayyfoe.onion/registeEJNZoVsMp6
BlackBank - http://wztyb7vlfcw6l4xd.onion

Finding Products

Now it's time for you to find the product you want. In Agora you'll want to make sure that the vendor has a green thumb near their username. This means that you don't need to finalise early. Once you find the product you want, check the vendors profile. Some vendors will want you to finalise early if you have under a certain amount of orders on your account, so you may need to make small orders initially to build reputation. Ideally you also want a vendor with a high rating who has made lots of deals. Someone who is reliable.
So you've found a product you want from a vendor you trust. You now need to place the order. If you've been following along with this guide while you're making your order I want you to read the following four sections before continuing.
For Agora, check the postage of the product too by clicking the "Buy..." button.

Bitcoins

So you know how many bitcoins you're going to need. I get my bitcoins from Bit Bargain for the uk. Register for an account and follow the steps on the website to get your bitcoins. It has a step-by-step guide to follow and it's very easy to do. It'll involve a bank transfer too, so make sure you're prepared for that. It might be worth noting that transferring coins from your own wallet can cost you bitcoins, usually around 0.0001 BTC, so it can be worth it to get a tiny amount extra than needed. This also helps to account for any variation in the value of bitcoin in the time it takes for you to buy the coins and get them to your Agora wallet.
Once you've got your coins transfer them to your own personal wallet. You can transfer them directly to your darknet wallet also. The recommended wallet to use at the moment is Electrum. Make sure you get your bitcoins out otherwise bitbargain will tax you 1% every week.

Tumbling

I don't personally follow this step but I feel it should be in everyone's interest to know about it. Tumbling your coins will also cost you a fee depending on which tumbling service you decide to use.
The way this works is that bitcoins use a blockchain so that you can track where it's been throughout its existence. So the idea is that if a vendor has their coins seized they can track the transactions back to you through the blockchain. In practice, the chances of this happening are minimal and tumbling coins is ultimately not necessary. It can't be proved that you sent that money to them for anything illicit anyway. But if you want to practice that extra bit of safety - and I encourage everyone to be as safe as possible - then you can look at something like Helix as a tumbler. You can investigate the darknet subreddits for other recommendations too, as I do not know a lot about tumbling personally.

Encryption

This is the most important step here. So, you've got bitcoins and transferred them to your chosen market's wallet. Go back to the vendor profile and check for a PGP key. This is their public key and you're going to use this to encrypt your address so only that vendor can read it.
This is a great and detailed guide I'd recommend you follow. It covers everything you need to know.
So import the vendors key, type out your name and address in full, including country if the source is from abroad. Use your real name and address. It may seem scary, but I assure you that your postman is more likely to be suspicious that you're suddenly receiving a lot of packages for John Smith, who only seems to have recently moved in to your place.
Encrypt your address with the vendors key and save it to your clipboard.

Making The Order

Okay, you've got the bitcoins in your wallet and you've encrypted your address with your vendors PGP key. Click "Buy..." then paste your encrypted message into the box and press "Confirm" for your order. You'll need to make sure you've got all the funds in your wallet. This will take you to a finalisation page. DO NOT FINALISE until your product arrives. Don't ever finalise before you receive your product.
The finalisation page for each order can be accessed via the "Orders" tab on Agora. This is where the vendor will update the status and send you messages if necessary.
The order will auto-finalise after 14 days, releasing the money to the vendor. Make sure that if your product hasn't turned up by then you log in to Agora and send a message to the vendor explaining that it hasn't turned up to extend the auto-finalise time. It could be that you can resolve the problems with the vendor directly.
As soon as your product arrives though, log in and finalise your order. Bitcoins are a volatile currency and the vendors should be paid for their service, so release the funds to them when you've got what you ordered.

No Order?

If your order doesn't turn up - don't panic. In the UK, controlled deliveries seem to be entirely uncommon. In all chances, the order may have just been confiscated or lost in the post. I'd recommend that if an order never turns up though that you not order to that address again. It could be flagged, it could be ignored, but I don't really know and it's your choice.
If you do receive a letter from the post office or any other agency, then you should definitely not use that address.
On the entirely slim chance you ever do get a visit from the police - you have no knowledge of that package and you should always lawyer up if it ever goes further. Use your Miranda Rights and keep quiet. It's not as prevalent here in the UK I don't think, but you should always protect yourself. To be honest there doesn't seem to be much record in the dark net subreddits about police incidence in the UK though.

Other Tips

Make your Dark Net Identity separate from your other Identities. Don't reuse online personas you use to comment on reddit or any other service. Pick two random words in the dictionary and throw in some random numbers if you want. Your darknet name should be unique and unidentifiable. The only way in which your dark net identity should be linked to you is when you send a vendor your address and name. And even then a vendor should not be storing this information. If you get the sense a vendor is storing your data in any way, then try to avoid that vendor if you can.
Don't leave leftover coins in your market wallet. I say this as someone that lost a tiny amount of coins on the Evo exit scam and a slightly larger sum during the Silk Road raid. It's always a good idea to have control over your own coins. I'd probably password protect your wallet too.
Domestic orders are always safer. If a delivery doesn't have to come through customs then it's always going to be less likely to be detected. Then again, Canada has some crazy green prices. Personal choice.
For Mac users I'd recommend Tails even more highly than before because I really do not have any experience with Mac. If however you don't want to use it, there's a guide on DarkNetMarketsNoobs
Always check vendor reviews for mentions of poor stealth. This means that the vendor is not hiding what they're sending you in the post. Obviously this increases your risk of being caught, which is bad. So a vendor who has a reputation for good stealth is recommended. Oh, and don't ever discuss the actual mechanics of the stealthing methods in a public forum. It should remain secret.
You can use www.dnstats.net to check the availability of darknet sites. You can use this to find tumblers, markets and whatever else you might want for the darknet. It will also show you the uptimes of the websites so you can work out reliability for yourselves.
20/04/2015 - LSD from the Netherlands I haven't seen anything mentioned super recently, but it seemed like earlier in the month a lot of LSD orders out of the netherlands have been confiscated. I don't know if it's still going on but keeping an eye on the dark net subreddits should keep you informed.

End

And that's it - you should know everything you need to know to order from the darknet. If you have any questions or comments about the guide, leave a comment or message me and I'll try to update it.

Glossary

FE - Finalise Early
LE - Law Enforcement
PGP - Pretty Good Protection, you should use this to send messages to vendors.
Bitcoins - A digital currency
Darknet - Websites ending with .onion domain name.
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