Versus Market Announces Its Closure

Versus Market Announces Its Closure
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Just a few days ago, we wrote about Versus Market being hacked. And after the breach, the management took the market offline and enabled ‘invite only’ mode. Well, it seems the hackers hit it at the core and there’s no hope for Versus. 

Since the incident, the administrators went silent and refused to address the hacking rumours. They didn’t even publish a notice to address what had happened. At least they would have clarified a few issues, like why the market was down and when it would resume. Despite their silence, people already knew all isn’t well. And just as we wrote, DeSnake is among darknet the personalities who made things clear.

So the long awaited notice is here and it’s just a confirmation of our fears. Versus is closing down. The admin said that they’ve resolved to take the market down in a bid to properly scrutinize what might have happened. They’re specifically concerned on what the hack was all about and that’s infact the major reason they’re closing. Even though no confidential data leaked as a result of the hack, there is a need to study it properly. 

The management of Versus claims that the breach is a read only copy of the market’s status 6 months ago. They also suspect an IP leak of a server that they used for the last month. So based on their findings, they argue they still had the opportunity to continue with operations, or close the market. They chose to close. Vendors to get a working link to help reclaim their funds any time. They promised the link will be out as soon as possible and so there’s no need to wait for more than 90 days for an automatic refund. 

Biggest Marketplace

At the time of it’s closure, Versus market was the biggest dark web marketplace. It had the highest number of listings and dealt with a wide variety of goods and services. Vendors and customers were available from all over the world. But the United States had the highest number. Versus also features one of the most advanced operating systems on the scene. So it was without doubt a bigger market. I’m sure it’s going to be in history as one of the largest markets to ever operate on the dark web. It might not have been as big as its predecessors like Silk Road, but at least it has a place in darknet history. 

It was actually one of the longest running markets. Most markets usually operate in less than two years then shut down. Versus is one of the few that beat this record. It has operated for over three years. It took a very long time for the market to come to the limelight. Its breakthrough only came after Dark0de Market had an exit scam followed by World Market. People were left sort of options and they found Versus to be a perfect fit. Versus therefore grew slowly day and night and finally became what it was. A legend has indeed rested.

Versus Market admin full statement

Below is the statement for the retirement of the market as written by the administrator on Dread Forum. People have had different views concerning the closer of the market. Vendors are afraid they may never get their funds back while buyers are also unable to trace their recent orders. We can’t say it’s an exit scam, but people have reason to worry. Especially if you had funds in your wallet. So look at this:

Versus Market Announces Its Closure 1

“Dear Community, 

There is no doubt that there has been a lot of concern and uncertainty regarding Versus in the last few days. Most of you that have come to know us have rightfully assumed that our silence has been spent working behind the scenes to evaluate the reality of the proposed vulnerability. After an in-depth assessment, we did identify a vulnerability which allowed read-only access to a 6+ month old copy of the database as well as a potential ip leak of a single server we used for less than 30 days. We take any and every vulnerability extremely seriously. But we do think that it’s important to contend a number of the claims that were made about us. 

Specifically of importance: there was no server pwn and users/vendors have nothing to worry about. As long as standard and basic opsec practices have been utilized (for example, PGP encryption) 

Our Options

In many ways, we are glad to see the community coming together to improve everyone’s security. This was our dream from the beginning with Versus. Though we will say that there was a clear agenda behind the way this was originally handled. But we leave you to draw your own conclusions. Once we identified the vulnerability, we were posed with a fork in the road. To rebuild and come back stronger (as we had done before) or to gracefully retire. After much consideration, we have decided on the latter. 

We built Versus from scratch and ran for 3 years. We built a community and even became the #1 DNM when we never intended for that to be the goal. At a certain point, there is no further way up to go, only down. And in this business it is best to not make decisions out of pride. While we are not ending on the note that we would have liked, we hope that the truth about the actual scope of the vulnerability, combined with the impact we have had on the community, leaves users remembering Versus fondly for years to come. Versus Market has officially retired and we thank you for your support and being part of something that hopefully defined the future of DNM’s. 

For all our vendor:

We will soon publish a link where you guys can get your transactions without the lock time. No need to wait 90 days. 

It was a good run and I would like to thank you all. 

All the best, 

William Gibso”

Possible Reasons For The Fall of Versus Market

Versus had grown to be one of the most respected markets. But its fall came at a time most of us never expected. Well, one of the major issues rumoured to have resulted in the fall of Versus market is management. The main administrator is rumoured to have had strained relationships with the management. According to confidential sources, the crew allegedly had a misunderstanding a few weeks before the hack. So was there a mole who probably had a hand in this? We can’t tell. But we can confirm without any fear of contradiction that the staff wasn’t on good terms.

When confirming the incident, AlphaBay administrator, DeSnake wrote in part 

“… Given the issues with security that are now happening for the 3rd time in the market’s history, Staff problems also affect Versus. I have no doubt that affects the security and maintenance of the marketplace. Staff are a core part of the marketplace without Staff administrators, and vice versa. So for all of you marketplace admins make sure your Staff are well, financially and in other ways. When you are an employer it is your duty to ensure you create a good environment for individual employees to thrive and grow both professionally and personally‚Ķ” 

So this is just part of the proof that the management had real issues from within. And the results of their disagreement is now felt by everybody in the scene. Another possible cause of Versus’ fall is supremacy wars. Very many people think DeSnake is behind the hack. Remember, Versus was currently the biggest darknet marketplace. But a few years ago before being busted, AlphaBay enjoyed this title. So to reclaim its glory, AlphaBay administration headed by AlphaBay could have done anything to see the fall of Versus. 

The New Giant

Of course with Versus gone, AlphaBay has officially reclaimed its title. It is now the biggest darknet marketplace in operation. No wonder the administration seemed to have liked what befell Versus. They knew Versus’ fall would grant them an automatic pass to the top. And indeed they have it at last. 

There are however a few other giants apart from AlphaBay which can possibly replace Versus. ASAP Market and Tor2Door are some of the notable mentions. They have good reputations and a large user base so they have what it takes. The product listings are also not that bad in both markets. So we are yet to see who ascends to the top, but as things stand right now, AlphaBay is officially the biggest darknet marketplace.

Is There Any Future For Versus Market?

This we honestly don’t know. There are very many possibilities. Versus may have calculated a scam exit and is yet to scam its users ( both vendors and buyers) of their money. Another thing, the hack might have been so severe that the market had only one option left, to shut down. Or after the hack, and due to poor relationships, the management decided to part ways. 

If in case the LE has a hand in this, then we’re yet to learn. But of course they would have already made the public aware. There’s little possibility of Versus returning as Versus, especially with the poor management. But then, everything can happen. So it’s just a matter of time. We will see what unfolds at long last and we’ll keep you updated.