In this guide we explain everything you need to know to get started using the Vice City darknet market.
Named after the 2002 installment of the highly-popular Grand Theft Auto video game series, Vice City is a darknet market that was initially launched in May 2020. It features a pleasant user interface that appears to have been built from the ground up, giving it some personality when compared to a few of the cookie-cutter clone markets out there. Not a whole lot is known about Vice City but most of the user reviews we managed to find were positive, with the number one complaint being connection difficulties.
At the moment, Vice City only has slightly over 7,000 listings, most of which are related to drugs and pharmaceuticals. This makes it one of the smaller markets we’ve reviewed, but it has definitely seen an increase in users during the first half of 2021 and seems to be undergoing quite a bit of expansion. Unsurprisingly, the biggest concentration of vendors seems to be EU-based, but there are a number of U.S.-based vendors as well. There are vendors who will ship internationally, but it’s always a good idea to shop locally when possible.
It looks like Vice City was initially configured to accept multiple cryptocurrencies, but for the moment they only accept Bitcoin (BTC). This can pose a problem to anonymity-focused darknet shoppers who would rather not have their transactions with the market recorded by a blockchain. The bright side is that Vice City supports multisignature (multisig) transactions, which can’t be done with privacy coins like Monero. This is great because it means that the market doesn’t insist on holding all of its customers’ funds at all times.
Vice City only charges a 4-6% fee to its vendors and has an affordable vendor bond rate of $99. Despite these perks, they have failed to attract a truly large selection of vendors. We did see some of the biggest darknet vendor regulars had established accounts on Vice City, but for now the market’s overall listings selection remains somewhat limited and uninspiring. Other than that, Vice City seems to be a competent operation that is in it for the long haul, and we have no problems recommending them to our readers.
Quick Facts about Vice City Market
- Founded: 2020
- Number of listings: 7024
- Listing categories: Benzos, Cannabis, Dissociatives, Ecstasy, Opioids, Other Drugs, Prescription, Psychedelics, Steroids, Stimulants, Digital, Fraud, Other Listings, Services
- Coins accepted: Bitcoin (BTC)
- Multisignature escrow: Yes
- Finalize Early (FE) Allowed: Yes
- Vendor bond: $99
Before Getting Started
There are a few concepts you should be familiar with before attempting to get started using a darknet market like Vice City. You will need to first download and install the Tor browser. This is what allows you to connect to websites on the darknet (like Vice City). While it is correct that the Tor browser hides your connection to websites by routing your connection through different IPs, your internet service provider can still see that you are using the Tor network. This means that if anonymity is your biggest concern, you may want to consider purchasing a VPN (virtual private network) service to sever the connection between your IP address and Tor.
Obviously, you’ll also need at least some experience with transacting cryptocurrency. Definitely learn the basics of sending BTC from one address to another before attempting to send it for darknet market purposes. You will also need to know how to identify Bitcoin addresses, assign transaction fees, and read a blockchain explorer as well. Sending Bitcoin or any crypto to an incorrect address can be a costly error for which there is no correction. This is why it’s a good idea to really understand how to move it before attempting a major transaction for the first time.
Registering an account
The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you are visiting an official link to Vice City. Recently, one of the most trusted darknet market link providers was hacked, and currently displays links to phishing sites. This is why you want to always be sure you are registering an account with the real exchange. The primary, official URL of Vice City is:
As of right now, this is the only official .onion link for the market.
The process of logging in to Vice City will almost always include solving a unique-looking captcha as the site is the frequent target of DDOS attacks. After you complete the captcha, you will be presented with the main login screen:
Click on the “Register” link toward the bottom right to get started. As you can see from the account registration screen, you’ll only need to create a user name, password and PIN in order to start browsing the market.
Be sure to choose a user name that can’t be associated with your real life or other online identities, and a password that is a combination of at least 8 random characters. Also be sure to save this information somewhere secure but where you will remember where it is (never online or on a cloud-based server). After you have done this, press “Register” to continue.
You will now be transported back to the original homepage; this time with a green banner that reads “Registration Successful”. Re-enter your user name, solve the captcha, then press “Continue”. You then have to re-enter your user name, this time along with the password, to finally login. The front page of Vice City looks like this:
Configuring an account for multisignature transactions
Note that there are a couple of other options you can alter from the Account Settings tab, including the local currency you want to see displayed in listings, as well as information for multisignature transactions. This information includes providing a multi-signature Bitcoin address (begins with “3”) for refunds and a Bitcoin public key (also known as an “xpub”).
The multisig purchase option is for those who would rather not keep all their funds with the market, and requires a combination of 2 out of 3 parties (buyer, vendor, market) to sign the transaction in order for funds to move from the mutually-controlled address to the vendor. It also requires creating a special, multi-sig Bitcoin wallet, which is one of the options present in major hot wallet services such as Electrum.
The advantage of setting up payment to be handled in this manner is that funds can easily be returned to the buyer if they are dissatisfied with their order, or if it never arrives. The buyer can simply a sign a transaction along with the market to issue a refund to their refund address, bypassing input from the vendor completely. Likewise, the market can sign off on a payment with the vendor if the buyer is being uncooperative or non-responsive. Finally, the possibility exists that the buyer and vendor can work out which direction the funds should move in among themselves if for some reason the market should go down during the middle of a transaction (this would of course require some pre-arrangement or coordinated effort to communicate).
In the end, multisig is a good option if you don’t want to have to trust the market, or believe that the market may not act in your best interest in the case of a dispute. If you trust Vice City enough and are comfortable with traditional darknet market escrow procedures, choosing escrow over multisig can be time-saving, and you won’t run the risk of being penalized for delaying sign-off of vendor funds.
Making a deposit
There are two payment options available at Vice City; the first of being Multisig, as discussed at length in the section above. The second and more traditional option, Escrow, means that funds are held by the exchange until the buyer finalizes the order.
Even though Vice City issues every account its own BTC address, they specifically advise their users to not make deposits to these wallets unless absolutely necessary. The reason is that each Escrow transaction is assigned its own BTC address with a static amount that is funded by the buyer, held in escrow by the market, and then released to the vendor. Therefore, no deposit needs to be made: BTC is simply sent straight from the buyer to the escrow address assigned to that transaction.
Browsing Vice City market
Vice City’s presentation and layout is nicely done; if anything the market’s main shopping page is perhaps a bit too graphics-intensive, but it is still quite navigable and easy to find that for which you are searching.
Listings are divided into the following categories (along with the current listing count):
- Benzos (397)
- Cannabis (1066)
- Dissociatives (423)
- Ecstasy (405)
- Opioids (427)
- Other Drugs (2)
- Prescription (476)
- Psychedelics (575)
- Steroids (222)
- Stimulants (1205)
- Digital (956)
- Fraud (756)
- Other Listings (146)
- Services (90)
Hovering over each category in the left panel will bring up its sub-category.
Vice City’s search function is a bit basic, but because there isn’t an overbearing amount of listing in each category, it does a good enough job in terms of finding listings that are relatively specific. Hovering over the magnifying glass above the category listings in the left-most panel will open a drop-down menu with search filters, including search term, category, price, ship to and ship from. Results can be sorted by relevance, best-selling, price and date listed.
The main shopping page displays the following formation for each listing:
- Item description
- Average star rating for item (1 through 5)
- Pricing info and bulk prices
- Vendor name
- Vendor % positive feedback and number of sales
Clicking on an item will bring up advanced details about the listing:
Here you can see the price in BTC, USD (or your display currency of choice), the payment types accepted (Escrow and/or Multisig), and quantity in stock. Toward the bottom of each listing page is additional information provided by the vendor, usually including things like their communication preferences, information about refunds/reships, and detailed shipping information.
Note that each listing page is set to the “Listing” tab by default. There are two other tabs: “Feedback” and “Discussion”. Clicking on the “Feedback” tab will bring up all the buyer feedback left for that particular item. Reading these posts frequently help potential customers get a better idea of what they are in for and it is highly recommended you engage in this practice before placing an order – especially if you are placing an order with a vendor for the first time. Posts made under the “Discussion” are usually questions to the vendor about that specific item and can only be left by users that have received at least one positive feedback.
There is a small but growing selection of vendors on Vice City, with the majority seemingly EU- and UK-based. Clicking on the vendor name (found in the “Listing” tab) will direct you to the vendor’s page on Vice City.
Here you can find advanced information about the vendor, such as when they were last online, their feedback score, total number of sales, what payment types they accept, whether or not they are FE-enabled, and their join date. It is highly recommended that you give a vendor’s page a thorough read before placing an order with them for the first time. Some vendors are particular about the format of the shipping address provided to them by buyers, some won’t ship to P.O. boxes, and refund/reship policies vary greatly from vendor to vendor.
Like listings pages, vendor pages are divided into tabs. In addition to the feedback and discussion tabs (all feedback and general vendor discussion), vendors also have pages for the PGP key (to encrypt private communications) and their shop on Vice City (returns all of this vendor’s listings).
Though it might seem like common sense, we also recommend never making purchases from vendors with a low feedback score and/or bad reviews. You may occasionally see a product listed with an attractively low price, only to read in the feedback that the seller has a reputation for selling fake goods, or claiming to have sent items when they never actually sent anything at all. It is not worth the headache of dealing with anyone with less than a professional reputation on the darknet, especially when it comes to a subject as potentially sensitive and serious as this.
Placing an order
Vice City has one extra step in the order placement process that no other market has thought (or needed) to implement, and that is a 2-FA PGP check. This involves decrypting a message encrypted with your PGP public key to find a secret code that must be entered before placing an order for an item. This serves to stop bots from spamming the market’s order system with bogus orders, and it also serves to make sure this item is what you really meant to select.
Now that you’ve found a product you wish to purchase and familiarized yourself with the terms of the vendor, we’ll show you how to place the order. On the item’s listing page, scroll down until you see the section that says “PGP Security Challenge”. Here you will see a message encrypted with your PGP public key. You will need to decrypt this message to reveal a “PGP challenge” code. Enter the decrypted code into the text box, select the quantity of item units you wish to purchase, select your preferred shipping message, and press “BUY”. The screen should look like this when everything is properly entered:Next you’ll be brought to the buy screen where you will confirm the amount to be paid and enter your shipping information. Even though you can submit your shipping address unencrypted, you should absolutely encrypt it with the vendor’s PGP key before doing so. Vice City makes it easy to find by including it immediately below the shipping info text box. After reviewing the payment amount, pasting your encrypted shipping information and entering your PIN, press “Place Order”. The screen should look something like this:
Next up is the payment screen. For the sake of this guide we are doing an Escrow payment-type order, but the process for Multisig payments works fairly similarly. Here you can see the amount in BTC to be sent to pay for the order, and the address to which you will send it.
You have three hours for your payment transaction to be confirmed on the blockchain. If the transaction fails to achieve a confirmation within this time, the order will be voided and the BTC will be refunded to your account (potentially minus a transaction fee). We recommend taking a look at average Bitcoin network fees at the time to get a gauge of what kind of fee you should assign before sending the transaction. By setting a comfortably high enough fee you can avoid this problem altogether.
After your transaction has been confirmed by the network three times, the order information will be passed on to the vendor, who will then get starting preparing it for delivery. After the order has been delivered, the vendor will mark it as so. If you are doing a FE (finalize early) order, it is at this point that you will mark the order as Finalized in the “Orders” menu to release the funds to the vendor. Otherwise, wait for your order to arrive before finalizing it so you can be sure you got what was expected.
If your order doesn’t arrive, or it isn’t up to your expectations, you can file a dispute and submit a case as to why you are due a refund (or partial refund). The moderator will then give the vendor a chance to respond and make a decision in favor of one party or the other. Disputes can arise in any commercial transaction but it’s better to minimize your chances of having to file a dispute in the first place by only placing order with the most competent of vendors (as demonstrated by their ratings and feedback).
In all, Vice City seems to be a worthy operation as far as darknet markets go and we don’t see any obvious, major weaknesses. Their listing selection is a little on the weak side, but this will likely be improved upon with longevity, as the market is still less than a year old. In this time, they have proven themselves to be relatively stable and trustworthy. Vice City efficiently deals with DDOS attacks through regular captcha checkpoints. These – along with the 10-minute idle timeouts – can be annoying to deal with, but the market remains largely accessible and with a good degree of uptime.
With the way things appear to be going, we see Vice City’s popularity as likely taking off in the future, so long as it doesn’t succumb to the usual darknet market pitfalls. We hope they consider adding XMR support in the future. Other than that, they are worth giving a try and you shouldn’t have a problem so long as you practice common sense in your darknet market endeavors.