While cryptocurrencies may be the currency/technology of the future, there are many issues regarding cryptocurrencies in today’s environment.  Currently, many different darknet markets exist which tarnish the advantages that blockchain technology brings to the table.  One of the darknet marketplaces was AlphaBay.

AlphaBay was launched in September 2014 and eventually closed in July 2017.  Throughout the time, it generated more than $23 million in revenue by offering mostly customizable digital contracts.  At its peak, AlphaBay was successfully pushing through more than $800,000 worth of transactions per day and was drawing a comparison to the Silk Road.  Silk Road was an online black market and truly the first darknet market.  It was primarily used to sell illegal drugs, weapons, and malicious or pirated software.  The marketplace operated successfully for about two years before being shut down by the FBI.  While Silk Road was the first darknet marketplace, AlphaBay was larger.  AlphaBay was ten times larger than Silk Road by the time it was shut down.

Alpha Bay came to end with nearly 400,000 users.  Law enforcement obtained the warrants they needed to perform searches and seizures on the company in June 2017.  On July 5th, 2017, Canadian police raided EBX technologies, a company owned by Alexandra Cazes, the founder of the Alpha Bay darknet marketplaces.  Authorities also managed to arrest Cazes on the same day in Bangkok.  Just seven days later, Cazes was found hanging in his cell in custody in Thailand, in what is expected as a suicide.  Had Cazes not committed suicide, he likely would have faced the same fate as the founder of the Silk Road, Ross William Ulbricht.  Finally, on July 20th, 2017, the shut down of the site was officially announced by US Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Fast forward to earlier this month, September 6th.  The Fresno Division of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California completed a process to seize the assets and property that had formerly belong to Cazes.   When authorities arrested Cazes, they found a document breaking down his net worth, which estimated his total fortune of around $23 million.  Beyond large sums of money, he had expensive real estate holdings and glamorous, top-notch cars.  The cars that he and his wife possessed include a 2013 Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4 worth about $900,000, an $81,000 Mini Cooper, and a Porsche Panamera worth nearly $300,000.  In addition, Cazes also housed more than $8 million in cryptocurrencies including bitcoins, either, and zcash.

According to sources, AlphaBay already has a successor, a new player on the dark web, known as Empire Market, which surfaced in March and is running very successfully to date.

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