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.[4]

Launched January 14, 2014, it saw rapid growth within its first several months, helped in part by law enforcement seizures of some of its competitors during the six-month-long investigation codenamed Operation Onymous.[5] Speaking about why Evolution was not part of Operation Onymous, head of European police cybercrimes division said it was "because there's only so much we can do on one day."[6] Wired estimated that as of October 11 it was one of the two largest drug markets.[7][8]

Evolution was similar to other darknet markets in its prohibitions, disallowing "child pornography, services related to murder/assassination/terrorism, prostitution, ponzi schemes, and lotteries".[9] Where it most prominently differed was in its more lax rules concerning stolen credit cards and others kinds of fraud, permitting, for example, the wholesaling of credit card data.[9][8][10]

In mid-March 2015, administrators froze its users escrow accounts, disallowing withdrawals, citing technical difficulties.[11] Evolution had earned a reputation not just for its security, but also for its professionalism and reliability, with an uptime rate much higher than its competition.[12][11] Partly for that reason, when the site went offline a few days later, on March 18, the user community panicked.[11] The shut down was discovered to be an exit scam, with the operators of the site shutting down abruptly in order to steal the approximately $12 million in bitcoins it was holding as escrow.[13][14]


  1. ^ https://www.reddit.com/r/EvolutionMarket
  2. ^ https://www.gwern.net/DNM%20survival
  3. ^ Compton, Ryan. "Darknet Market Basket Analysis". ryancompton.net. Retrieved 29 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Wired Staff (1 January 2015). "The Most Dangerous People on the Internet Right Now". Retrieved 1 August 2015. 
  5. ^ James Cook (7 November 2014). "More Details Emerge Of How Police Shut Down Over 400 Deep Web Marketplaces As Part Of 'Operation Onymous'". UK Business Insider. Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Raids on underground 'Darknet' websites". DW. 7 November 2014. 
  7. ^ Greenberg, Andy (6 November 2014). "Not Just Silk Road 2: Feds Seize Two Other Drug Markets and Counting". Wired. 
  8. ^ a b Greenberg, Andy (18 September 2014). "The Dark Web Gets Darker With Rise of the 'Evolution' Drug Market". Wired. 
  9. ^ a b Greenberg, Andy (18 September 2014). "The Dark Web Gets Darker With Rise of the 'Evolution' Drug Market". Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  10. ^ McCluskey, Brent (23 September 2014). "Evolution Replaces Silk Road as New Online Drug Market". The Fix. 
  11. ^ a b c Greenberg, Andy (18 March 2015). "The Dark Web's Top Drug Market, Evolution, Just Vanished". Wired. 
  12. ^ Glance, David. "Despite Darknet drug market arrests and seizures, can they be stopped?". The Conversation. 
  13. ^ Krebs, Brian (2015-03-18). "Dark Web's 'Evolution Market' Vanishes". Krebs on Security. Retrieved 2015-03-18. 
  14. ^ Woolf, Nicky (2015-03-18). "Bitcoin 'exit scam': deep-web market operators disappear with $12m". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-03-18.