Type of site
|Darknet market search engine|
|Current status||Closed in 2017|
Grams is a discontinued search engine for Tor based darknet markets launched in April 2014,and closed in December 2017. The service allowed users to search multiple darknet markets for products like drugs and guns from a simple search interface, and also provided the capability for its users to hide their transactions through its bitcoin tumbler Helix.
The services used a custom API to scrape listings from several markets such as Alpha Bay and others, to return search listings.The site is described by the Global Drug Policy Observatory to have "transformed how people search the hidden web".
In May 2014 the site added Gramwords, a service similar to Google's AdWords search sponsorship system for vendors.Additionally their profile system allows for cross-market vendor contact details and reviews to be held centrally.
Later that year in June the creators released Grams Flow, a clearnet to Tor redirection service serving various dark net sitesand in November, a banner advertising network for Tor sites, TorAds which has not yet had much success.
'InfoDesk' allows central content and identity management for vendors, reducing the complexity of around maintaining presences on multiple markets.
On December 9, 2017, the Grams administrator left a PGP signed message on the Reddit subreddit r/Grams stating that all Grams services, including the Helix tumbler, would be shut down on December 16, 2017.
In June 2014, Grams released Helix and Helix Light, a market payment service with an integrated bitcoin tumbler.The site was also available on the clearnet via Grams Flow.
In August 2017, it was noted that an elaborate darknet phishing scam appeared as the top Google search result for "how to mix bitcoins", directing users to a fake version of the Grams Helix Light website that would steal their bitcoins.
Due to the enduring popularity of the site, and relative ease of replicating the first few digits of a .onion address,a number of illegitimate copies of the original Gram hidden service have been created. These include a scam version of flow, the search engine, and even copies of the drug marketplaces indexed. Several competing scams have replicated the "grams7e" portion of the address and are listed on links aggregators as if they are the now defunct original site. Like the Helix scam, these sites defraud unsuspecting visitors of any money or personal details entered on the fake site or fake marketplaces it linked to.
On February 6, 2020, the FBI and IRS arrested an Ohio man who they allege was the operator of Helix and Grams.Helix was said to have been partnered with AlphaBay, an illegal darknet market shut down in mid-2017.
The deep web, invisible web, or hidden web are parts of the World Wide Web whose contents are not indexed by standard web search-engines. The opposite term to the deep web is the "surface web", which is accessible to anyone/everyone using the Internet. Computer-scientist Michael K. Bergman is credited with coining the term deep web in 2001 as a search-indexing term.
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Sheep Marketplace was an anonymous marketplace set up as a Tor hidden service. It launched in March 2013 and was one of the lesser known sites to gain popularity with the well publicized closure of the Silk Road marketplace later that year. It ceased operation in December 2013, when it announced it was shutting down after a vendor stole $6 million worth of users' bitcoins.
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Evolution was a darknet market operating on the Tor network. The site was founded by an individual known as 'Verto' who also founded the now defunct Tor Carding Forum.
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AlphaBay Market was an online darknet market which operated on an onion service of the Tor network. It was shut down after a law enforcement action as a part of Operation Bayonet against it in the United States, Canada, and Thailand, reported 13 July 2017. The alleged founder, Alexandre Cazes, a Canadian citizen born on 19 October 1991, was found dead in his cell in Thailand several days after his arrest; suicide is suspected.
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Utopia was a darknet market similar to The Silk Road that facilitated sale of illegal items such as narcotics, firearms, stolen bank account information and forged identity documents. Utopia was based on Black Market Reloaded and has ties to it. It was launched on 3 February 2014 only to be shut down by Dutch police 8 days later. Undercover agents were able to buy large amounts of ecstasy (MDMA) and cocaine. 900 Bitcoin were seized.
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