Atlantis virtual black market, a.k.a. black market eBay, where users could buy and sell illegal wares, such as drugs, fake IDs, drugs, pirate DVDs, and more drugs, is shutting down after just a little more than two months in business. Atlantis, the anonymous online marketplace, made waves back in June by advertising its service on YouTube. The splashy ad campaign was shocking as virtual black markets try to stay under the radar due to the illicit nature of their business. And now it seems that it may have led to Atlantis' downfall.
Along with the cheery YouTube ad calling Atlantis the "world's best anonymous online drug marketplace", the illegal online drug purveyor also kept an active social media presence with a Twitter and Facebook account. Today, Atlantis informed its users of the site's imminent shutdown with a Facebook post. Atlantis cited "security reasons" outside its control as the cause for the shutdown and gave users one week to withdraw their virtual currency before it's gone forever.
Here's the post from Atlantis Market in full below:
"Dear all users,
We have some terrible news. Regrettably it has come time for Atlantis to close its doors. Due to security reasons outside of our control we have no choice but to cease operation of the Atlantis Marketmarketplace. Believe us when we say we wouldn't be doing this if it weren't 100% necessary.
Due to the urgency we are allowing all users to withdrawal all their coins for one week before the site, and forum, are shut down permanently. Please remove all of your coins, these will not be recoverable after one week from now. Anything remaining in your accounts will be donated to a drug related charity of our choosing.
We wish to thank all of you for making Atlantis a great and memorable place to trade on. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.
The Atlantis team"
Atlantis does not offer much explanation besides the cryptic "security reasons" outside its control that are vague and probably worrying for its users. But Facebook users are speculating that Atlantis' quest for attention has resulted in its demise. "I don't think flaunting the site on Facebook was ever going to end well," wrote one commenter.
"It appears Atlantis received more attention than they could handle," wrote Gawker's Adrian Chen. "Silk Road, meanwhile, is still booming." But for how long? As Chen also noted, the Dark Net (the collection of websites hosted on anonymity-protecting Tor Network) has come under attack from the feds in recent weeks.
Atlantis' shutdown comes just over a month after the FBI closed a major web hosting company on the Dark Net, Freedom Hosting, for child porn distribution, Gawker reported. Meanwhile, a major illegal gun dealer on another underground marketplace, Black Market Reloaded, was apparently just busted by the cops.