Grams (search)

Last updated

Grams search logo.png
Type of site
Darknet market search engine
Available inEnglish
[1] [2] [3] [4]
Current statusClosed in 2017

Grams is a discontinued search engine for Tor based darknet markets launched in April 2014, [5] and closed in December 2017. [6] The service allowed users to search multiple darknet markets for products like drugs and guns from a simple search interface, [5] 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. [5] The site is described by the Global Drug Policy Observatory to have "transformed how people search the hidden web". [7]

In May 2014 the site added Gramwords, a service similar to Google's AdWords search sponsorship system for vendors. [8] Additionally their profile system allows for cross-market vendor contact details and reviews to be held centrally. [9]

Later that year in June the creators released Grams Flow, a clearnet to Tor redirection service serving various dark net sites [10] and in November, a banner advertising network for Tor sites, TorAds [11] [12] which has not yet had much success. [13]

'InfoDesk' allows central content and identity management for vendors, reducing the complexity of around maintaining presences on multiple markets. [14]

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. [15]


In June 2014, Grams released Helix and Helix Light, a market payment service with an integrated bitcoin tumbler. [16] [17] [18] The site was also available on the clearnet via Grams Flow. [16]

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. [19] [20]

Due to the enduring popularity of the site, and relative ease of replicating the first few digits of a .onion address, [21] a number of illegitimate copies of the original Gram hidden service have been created. [20] These include a scam version of flow, the search engine, and even copies of the drug marketplaces indexed. [22] [20] 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. [23] [19] 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. [20] [19]

On February 6, 2020, the FBI and IRS arrested an Ohio man who they allege was the operator of Helix and Grams. [24] Helix was said to have been partnered with AlphaBay, an illegal darknet market shut down in mid-2017.

Related Research Articles

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.

The dark web is the World Wide Web content that exists on darknets: overlay networks that use the Internet but require specific software, configurations, or authorization to access. Through the dark web, private straphanger networks can communicate and conduct business anonymously without divulging identifying information, such as a user's location. The dark web forms a small part of the deep web, the part of the Web not indexed by web search engines, although sometimes the term deep web is mistakenly used to refer specifically to the dark web.

Sheep Marketplace

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.

Operation Onymous

Operation Onymous was an international law enforcement operation targeting darknet markets and other hidden services operating on the Tor network.

Agora was a darknet market operating in the Tor network, launched in 2013 and shut down in August 2015.

Evolution (marketplace)

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.

Doxbin Document sharing website

Doxbin was a document sharing and publishing website which invited users to contribute personally identifiable information, or "dox", of any person of interest. It was previously operated on the darknet as a Tor hidden service, by a person known on the internet as nachash. Since its takedown in 2014, nachash has stepped down and relinquished his ownership to a predecessor that used the username, king oren, when interviewed. He told in an interview that he is hosting the Doxbin on public access, referring to World Wide Web, as well as on darknet and Tor hidden service websites, although he would not release the link to either of them, saying, "The people that use the service, know how to find it, that's what keeps it secure and out of the reach of incompetent people using it for malice things".


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.

TheRealDeal was a darknet website and a part of the cyber-arms industry reported to be selling code and zero-day software exploits.

A darknet market is a commercial website on the web that operates via darknets such as Tor or I2P. They function primarily as black markets, selling or brokering transactions involving drugs, cyber-arms, weapons, counterfeit currency, stolen credit card details, forged documents, unlicensed pharmaceuticals, steroids, and other illicit goods as well as the sale of legal products. In December 2014, a study by Gareth Owen from the University of Portsmouth suggested the second most popular sites on Tor were darknet markets.

Utopia (marketplace)

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.

DeepDotWeb was a news site dedicated to events in and surrounding the dark web featuring interviews and reviews about darknet markets, Tor hidden services, privacy, bitcoin and related news. The website was seized on May 7, 2019 during an investigation into the owners' affiliate marketing model, in which they received money for posting links to certain darknet markets.

The Hub is a discussion forum on Tor hidden services on the dark web focused on darknet market reviews, cryptocurrency and security.

Clearnet (networking) Publicly accessible part of the Internet

Clearnet is a term typically referring to the publicly accessible Internet, the opposite of the term darknet which typically describes the services built on Tor or other anonymity networks, the connection to which is encrypted and anonymized.

Ahmia is a clearnet search engine for Tor's hidden services created by Juha Nurmi.

Carding (fraud) Crime involving the trafficking of credit card data

Carding is a term describing the trafficking of credit card, bank account and other personal information online. Activities also encompass procurement of details, and money laundering techniques. Modern carding sites have been described as full-service commercial entities. Since it is not a crime that is committed online, carding is not a form of crime and often intertwined with other types of e-fencing.

Hansa was an online darknet market which operated on a hidden service of the Tor network.

Dream Market Online black market

Dream Market was an online darknet market founded in late 2013. Dream Market operated on a hidden service of the Tor network, allowing online users to browse anonymously and securely while avoiding potential monitoring of traffic. The marketplace sold a variety of content, including drugs, stolen data, and counterfeit consumer goods, all using cryptocurrency. Dream provided an escrow service, with disputes handled by staff. The market also had accompanying forums, hosted on a different URL, where buyers, vendors, and other members of the community could interact.

Dread (forum) Online discussion forum hosted on the dark web

Dread is a Reddit-like dark web discussion forum featuring news and discussions around darknet markets. The site's administrator goes by the alias of 'HugBunter'.


  1. "Grams marketplace listing". DeepDotWeb . Archived from the original on 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  2. "Grams listing". DNStats. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
  3. Zetter, Kim (17 April 2014). "New 'Google' for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy". Wired . Archived from the original on 25 July 2016.
  4. Neal, Meghan (17 April 2014). "I Used the Dark Net's First Search Engine to Look for Drugs". Vice Motherboard . Retrieved 1 September 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 Zetter, Kim (17 April 2015). "New 'Google' for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy" . Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  6. C. Aliens. "The Darknet Search Engine 'Grams' is Shutting Down". DeepDotWeb . Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
  7. Buxton, Julia; Bingham, Tim. "The Rise and Challenge of Dark Net Drug Markets" (PDF). Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  8. ""Gramwords" Launched: Google Adwords Of The DeepWeb!". DeepDotWeb . 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  9. "Grams: Becoming Hub For DarkNet Info & Ads (Part 1)". DeepDotWeb . 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  10. "Grams Flow: Easy access to Hidden Sites". DeepDotWeb . 7 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  11. "Grams Grows with TorAds: First Advertising Network For Tor". DeepDotWeb . 18 November 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  12. "Happy Birthday To Grams!". 9 April 2015. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  13. Cox, Joseph (21 April 2015). "Banner Ads Don't Work on the Dark Web". Vice Motherboard . Retrieved 3 August 2015.
  14. "A Sneak Peek To Grams Search Engine "Stage 2: Infodesk"". DeepDotWeb . 17 May 2014. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  15. "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish". 9 December 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-12-15.
  16. 1 2 "Introducing Grams Helix: Bitcoins Cleaner". DeepDotWeb . 22 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
  17. "Helix Updates: Integrated Markets Can Now Helix Your BTC". DeepDotWeb . August 5, 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  18. White, Mike. "Deep Web Bitcoin Mixer's Recent Hack Restarted The Debate Of Darkcoin Vs Trusted Mixers and Trusted Mixers Won". CoinBrief. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
  19. 1 2 3 Pearson, Jordan (31 August 2017). "An Elaborate Darknet Phishing Scam Is the Top Google Result for Basic Bitcoin Tutorials". Vice Motherboard . Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  20. 1 2 3 4 Jotham, Immanuel (31 August 2017). "Popular Darknet Markets tutorial on bitcoin mixing is a dubious phishing scam". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
  21. Dingledine, Roger (Oct 31, 2014). "[tor-talk] Facebook brute forcing hidden services". Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  22. An example of an scam site is "" Copy on
  23. Both "grams7ebnju7gwjl" and "grams7enqfy4nieo" are examples of onion hostnames copying the first digits of the original site.
  24. Heisig, Eric (Feb 12, 2020). "Bath Township man ran service that laundered $311 million in bitcoin for darknet transactions, feds say".