Markets Jan 28, 2020

From the Archives: Interview with Admin of Nightmare Market

Q&A session with admin of nightmare market

Tape is committed to bringing you the recent the most interesting events on the darknet and that includes what we find from the archives.

In our research, we came across another interview that happened between the admin of Nightmare market and a former darknet news site.From the interview, we can note that the admin was very optimistic about the growth of Nightmare and they had implemented features not available in ordinary markets.

This, in turn, made the market one fastest growing in the dark web since it had become among the most popular in the dark web in a span of less than one year. However, when the marketplace just began to peak, it pulled an exit scam.

Here is the discussion. Please take note of how the admin responds.

Q: What is your primary reason for creating a Nightmare?

Admin: In the recent past, we have witnessed the fall of many great markets. Marketplaces where the community felt safe (enough) to transact and conduct trade.

Their absence has left a big void in the dark web, with really only Dream and Wall Street remaining as viable alternatives.
Our reason for creating this market is to resurrect the Darknet community from being a graveyard for old memories and give users back the security, unique functions, and sense of camaraderie that they once had. Moreover, to do all of this in a way that creates an environment that is pleasant to spend time.

Q: So in your view, Dream and Wall Street are among the best markets right now? Please clarify what you mean by the viable alternatives, and yet we have tens if not several reputable markets out there.

Admin: Well, to be accurate, I said that they are the only viable alternatives remaining from the previous generation of markets.
I say this because they have both been around for several years, and so have demonstrated some measure of longevity.

This does not imply that they do not have issues, as a matter of fact, they have their problems.The thing is that there is no better option as of now.

I am also not aware of hundreds of viable markets. Anyone from off the street can pay a few hundred bucks and purchase a clone of Evolution Market off hacking forums and edit a line in their Tor configuration file to have themselves "a market."
But this does not make it reputable, and it certainly doesn't indicate that it is safe for anyone to use.

Q: Please share with us how you came up with this name Nightmare?

Admin: The name is meant in jest, as a way of saying that the current Darknet era definitely feels like a "nightmare" for many users.
By opening our market and putting our heart and soul into the act of providing the best service possible for our users, we sincerely hope that the current darknet Nightmare we are living under is one from which we shall all soon wake up 🙂

Q: I believe that in your quest to create Nightmare, you were faced with a variety of challenges? Perhaps, you can highlight a few of them? Also, tell our readers what you did to overcome the situations.

Admin: Creating a market is, of course, a challenging task — not a decision that is made lightly. It requires much investment, both financially and with respects to time and commitment.
Technologically, the challenges we have faced are nothing unusual as we have a very skilled team. Integrating multiple cryptocurrencies into the platform has been a massive project we have been busy with as of late.
XMR in particular, with its specific focus on user security, has been somewhat challenging from an implementation aspect.

Q: Did you at any point think of giving up? If so, Why?

Admin: No, when we put our minds to something, we always achieve it.

Q: Based on my analysis of your market, it seems you have features that took a really long time to build. For that reason, how long did it take to create Nightmare?

Admin: We won't say precisely for how long, but it has been a project that has been in the works for some time.

Q: So, we are doing this interview in the second week of December. How long has your site been in operation?

Admin: 2 months

Q: During this time, has there been any attempt to hack into your systems. If so, what actions did you take?

Admin: Yes of course. Like any website that handles financial transactions, we receive many hacking attempts daily. None of these are successful naturally since we have implemented an impressive array of countermeasures and everything is subject to strict security protocols.

Every allowable function is strictly managed from a user role and whitelisted/permissioned activity standpoint.
We always have staff who have an eye on people messing around trying to inject suspicious input among other things.
The usual vulnerabilities found in cryptocurrency payment systems are all accounted for.

Now while our attackers may not stand much chance, everyone knows that all software can have bugs.
For this reason, users of our site should know that if they discover a security bug, they are welcome to submit a report to our bug bounty program.

Q: As I was checking out your market, I noticed that you have integrated 6 cryptocurrencies making Nightmare the market with the highest number of payment options I think. Isn’t this number just too much for a new market given the fact that we have old markets and they do not have these much currencies?

Admin: That's what is surprising to us. The other markets have been around for some time now, and we never see any innovation.
On the one hand, I can respect this, "If something is not broken, then don't fix it," but as a counterpoint, I would offer this: over the past two years the cryptocurrency ecosystem has experienced a massive boom and bust cycle. Now all of this is something which has been seen before with Bitcoin, but today we also have several coins that have their own communities and diehard fans.

These people should be free to use the currency with which they are most comfortable. So that is what we did, opened up the DNM space to more coins.Now there is no more need to convert your cryptos to BTC at an exchange or use a costly service like Shapeshift or others simply to use a market. You are free to send directly from your wallet into our mixer 🙂

Q: Now out of all these virtual currencies, which one has the highest and lowest number of users? Please also tell us the reason.

Admin: Bitcoin remains at the top, obviously. This is followed in second place by Monero, to which very many DNM patrons have switched for privacy reasons and its robust set of anonymity preserving attributes.

Bitcoin Cash has a solid fanbase as we all know.
Next would be DASH and Zcash which are … I would want to say pretty close in terms of user numbers.
Lastly, Litecoin (LTC) isn't used quite so much as the others, but its usage has historically been cyclical, and it has an active community, so who knows what the future holds!

This is our selection, and we would like to make it clear that we do not have a preference on which coin you decide to use, it is entirely up to the vendor to determine the mode of payment based on the available options.
The majority, however, appear to stick with BTC and Monero.

Q: From the past, we have seen that third parties especially law enforcement agencies have been successful in tracing cryptocurrencies back to the source. What measures have you put in place to ensure that your users are not easily tracked?

Admin: We have recently implemented a coin mixer directly into the functionality of the site. So now, when you want to deposit funds they are given a temporary address which is good for 24 hours.

They can send money to this address from their wallet of choice. Upon confirmation of the transaction, their deposit will be credited on the market, and the funds will automatically be moved to an on-site mixer which tumbles their coins, obscuring their trail.

When withdrawing coins from the market, the same thing happens in reverse. By default, the user will receive their funds in multiple transactions of random amounts – with delayed intervals over a brief period of time.

Also, if the user is making use of another service to receive their withdrawal, such as another market or another mixer, then they will probably want to specify this by clicking the checkbox so that all funds will be sent in one transaction.
This way no funds will be lost by the other service's temporary addresses.

Of course, if a user decides to use multi-signature escrow and their vendor supports it, they will be sending their coins directly to the 2/3 P2SH address (where coins remain for the duration of the escrow)

Q: What is your thought on efforts made by law enforcement agencies to track privacy coins? Do you think it will be successful in the end?

Admin: For the currencies based on CryptoNote, No, probably not. There just isn't enough data for them to work with and the cryptography is secure enough for many lifetimes.

Q: Also, can you highlight other measures put in place by your market to ensure that users do not fall victim to any hacks that may otherwise result in them getting locked out of there accounts resulting in the loss of funds?

Admin: Absolutely, the first is that we incorporate all of the standard security users have come to expect and trust: 2-factor authentication, PIN-required for withdrawal, PGP-encrypted messaging, etc.

But we go way beyond all that. For example, one difference I would like to highlight is having hidden usernames. That is to say, the account username can (should) be different than the name displayed publicly on the market.
This will prevent basic brute-force attacks and user-enumeration.

Q: As we speak, there are so many markets out there, and I would like to know what strategies you have put in place to ensure you stand out from the rest?

Admin: Simple answer – business-side innovation. Building what vendors want but aren't getting (shared access, multiple currencies, improved transaction anonymity).

Q: As things are at the moment, is everything going on as planned?  

Admin: Yes indeed, things are going quite well my friend.

Q: If not, what is not going on right, and do you have a remedy for it?

Admin: The only issue is that there are only so many hours in the day.

Q: How many buyers and sellers do you have at the moment, and how many new registrations are you getting?  

Admin: We have about 3,400 users. We receive about 50 new registrations per day, sometimes more. As of now, we have about 240 sellers.

Q: Are you making use of forums such as Dread, Reddit and

Admin: Unfortunately Reddit is now deceased as a venue for DNM-related discussion, so at present, we have a presence on Dread, where users can find answers or ask questions on our subdread located at /d/NightmareMarket.

Q: Two months down the line, I think you have received quite a number of orders. What is the price of the highest order? Also, can you specify the product?

Admin: I cannot remember off the head so I must refrain from answering that with precision. For the amounts, I can give an approximate figure, so maybe between 3.50$ and 50k$.

Q: Your market is still new, and I believe that before everything is complete there are quite a number of things that you guys have in mind and among them is your future plan. Can you tell the community what they should expect from you in the coming days, weeks, months and years?

Admin: We working hard and we are working on building an auto shop for digital items, one which we are confident will be the best ever seen. We are sure our users will really love it.

Q: Currently, law enforcement agencies are playing a game of cat and mouse with those involved in operations such as yours. What measures have you put in place to ensure that you do not fall victim to a seizure?

Admin: We cannot comment on specifics regarding our operation security, but please be assured we will not be using our Hotmail accounts to reset anyone's passwords or send welcome emails.

Q: What is it that you can say you have done that no other market has done so far?

Admin: Jokes aside, that is difficult to answer. The closest answer would be to say we have assembled a group of truly talented individuals who possess a caliber of integrity that is often elusive on the Darknet.

Q: Also, I noticed some features such as Live Jabber notifications have been integrated into Nightmare. Please explain how exactly this works.

Admin: It is easy, any user of the site can simply register for a Jabber account on our server, using their market username, via the standard port (5222), and they will instantly be updated with relevant notifications

To mention them we have; new order, order update (canceled/shipped/dispute), new message received, new stock is being added, notify a buyer if a seller has added a new listing, Balance updates (deposit and withdraw statuses ), global administration notifications/announcements, new ticket responses from support, etc.

We will also include 2-Factor on Jabber too and some more features in the future.
The screenshot below was sent by admin to show how the process works.

Q: Do you have any other features that you think no one else has as of now?  

Admin: We are currently implementing personal stores for our vendors. When a user applies to become a vendor, they will be able to choose an option different than normal vendors.

This will give them access to an entirely different user experience, lower commissions, and a completely customizable virtual storefront along with capabilities to employ assistants and more. It's pretty exciting and will be announced shortly after the New Year.

Q: Please tell us how your affiliate program works if you have any?

Admin: Upon the completion of a sale, the person who referred the other will get 20% of the fees earned from the commission.
This will be included in the auto shop and personalized store which will be launched soon.
And by the way, we will build up 3 vendor types too.

Q: What do you mean by three vendor types?

Admin: Well, the first type will pay like $100 only, and will have 6 % fees, and no access to a customizable store.
The second will have 3 % fees and will cost about 250 $ and will have access to the unique store.

Then the third will cost 500 and will have access to both autotshop and personalized store and will have fees 2 % or 1.5 %.
But for the fees, we will cross the bridge when we get there.

Q: Also what criteria do you use to rate vendors? As you know, each market has its own method. For example, Empire uses one that has a vendor and trust level just as was the case with its predecessor Alphabay whereas others just use five-star ratings.  

Admin: We only have vendor level at the moment but thinking of building a trust system too. Our system is rating vendors based on total sales and feedback rate right now but will include dispute rate and other stuff too.In short, the vendor level increases based on total sales in $.

Q: What do you have to say about the top markets that we have, and do you think they will be around for some time or do you see one going down sooner or later? If so, please tell us why you think one will exit from the scene.  

Admin: I cannot comment on what is going on behind the scenes with other markets. People have called for the end of Dream for a long time, but it remains standing. We wish SpeedSteppers and the owners of other markets nothing but the best.
N/B: If you do not know SpeedStepper, the name is an alias used by one of the moderators of Dream Market.

Q: For the short time that you have been in business, which products have the highest demand?

Admin: Hallucinogens (LSD) and Amphetamines (speed)

Q: Also, please tell us which category of goods or services has the most number of disputes and why?

Admin: The category with the most number of disputes? Probably fraud-related items. This is not surprising at all.

Q: Do you have any products that you do not allow vendors to sell? For example, some markets like Dream have banned the sale of Fentanyl. Others have banned X-rated content as well as the sale of weapons.

Admin: When we first started, we had Fentanyl too, but we have decided to remove it due to the harm that it may cause.
We are allowing the sale of weapons but under strict rules to ensure something does not go south.  
We don't allow the sale of any Russian products as well as shipment of products to Russia.
Other things not allowed are X-rated materials as well as poisonous substances.

Q: It is normal for every market to put in place measures to protect buyer funds. What methods are you using? By that, I’d like you to tell us how your escrow system works.

Admin: Due to the integrated mixer, the handling of escrowed funds on Nightmare is a bit different than merely having a (limited) "hot" versus (bulk) "cold" storage system.

This actually makes it safer for everyone since we don't have all funds sitting in an isolated wallet, which as we have seen from past markets, makes a lucrative target for hackers.

Other protections include various internal alerts that are triggered when certain quantity or frequency thresholds are met.

Q: Lastly, what else would you like to tell us, the community?

Admin: Thank you for this opportunity. On behalf of our staff, we would like to welcome everyone to our market!
We hope that everyone's Darknet Nightmares have now come to an end!

Well, there you have it! it is indeed funny that the market which intended to take over the darknet and end the community's nightmare turned out to pull an exit scam. This shows that no one can foresee what exactly happens in the darknet.


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