The “dark web” site AlphaBay, which let users anonymously trade bitcoin for drugs, weapons, hacking tools, and other illegal goods, went down this week, the New York Times reports. The site, accessible only through the encrypted Tor network, was believed to have been hosting hundreds of thousands of dollars in transactions every day.
That’s sparked fears among users that the online marketplace was raided by law enforcement, or that its creators effectively stole the virtual currency buyers and sellers have on deposit with the site. Similar marketplace Silk Road was taken down by federal authorities in 2013, and other similar sites have been taken down by their admins without warning. In an email to Fast Company, an FBI spokesperson declined to comment.
In the meantime, buyers and sellers from the site have taken to Reddit to speculate on what happened and even to try to locate buyers and sellers they were in the midst of doing business with when the site went down.