RAMP Joins the List of Fallen Dark Web Markets

Darknet The hidden area on the Internet.
RAMP has now joined the list of major dark web marketplaces to be taken down by authorities.

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP) is one of the latest among a growing number of fallen darknet markets.

RAMP is a strictly Russian site and therefore users who do not know Russian cannot use the platform, since it has no options for translation.

Now RAMP is gone, you will need a new market to use. The guys over at DarkWebNews have then best list of markets to buy stuff from. Go to the Market List here https://darkwebnews.com/dark-web-market-list/

The marketplace has been taken down by Russian authorities as a result of an ongoing crackdown in the country. Law enforcement seized the site in July around the same time AlphaBay was also shut down.

Dark web markets, in general, provide an exclusive hub of illegal products and services, many of which may have a negative impact on the lives of buyers.

Items regularly posted for sale include counterfeit money and jewellery, hard drugs, weapons, stolen credit/debit cards, malware and Trojans, just to mention a few.

These products and services are found in any major dark web market, and it is no doubt that the presiding authorities routinely launch investigations to apprehend the administrators and users of such sites.

Apart from an apparent shutdown from the authorities, other ways in which these markets can temporarily go down is through maintenance, where the site owners tend to add additional security layers or change servers for one reason or the other.

When this transpires, the whole site may go down, or at least a section of it. No wonder why users in site forums complain that they cannot access their accounts, as was the case with Valhalla Market.

Similar cases have been reported from time to time where the site is still up, but users cannot access their funds or have lost their funds.

Now that RAMP has gone down, it has joined the likes of AlphaBay, Hansa, the famous Silk Road and Outlaw, just to mention a few.

The AlphaBay and Hansa markets fell as a result of a comprehensive crackdown orchestrated collaboratively between authorities from different countries in the U.S. and Europe.

Unsecured network concept.
RAMP has gone down, it has joined the likes of AlphaBay, Hansa, the famous Silk Road and Outlaw.

The first market to shut down was AlphaBay, and then Hansa closely followed only a few weeks later.

When AlphaBay went down, there were speculations as to what was going on behind the scenes.

On online forums, a subsection of users stated that it was an exit scam or perhaps a maintenance issue, whereas others believed the site had been taken down by law enforcement.

The move to close down AlphaBay first was purely tactical given the fact that Hansa was seized earlier on by the Dutch authorities.

The essence of the game plan was to monitor the activities of dark web users in the market. As expected, the closure of AlphaBay would, in turn, direct users to open accounts with other darknet markets to continue their operations.

Among the markets that experienced the influx of new users was Hansa, where the authorities who were working undercover noticed a peculiar trend in the opening of the accounts. Both sellers and buyers were opening accounts with the same usernames and passwords.

A spot check by DarkWebNews shows that many among AlphaBay’s base of vendors also owned accounts not only on Hansa but on other sites as well, such as Dream Market. What’s more is that even the description of the goods and services on their listings was the same.

This quickly tipped off investigators to a clear pattern, providing enough evidence to proceed with their investigations and ultimately bring down these user bases.

It got to a point where registration on Hansa was closed, and the reason provided upon visiting the website was that there was an influx of AlphaBay refugees. Now, this was because investigators were buying time to carry out their investigations and make judgments based on the available evidence.

When registration was open again, new users opened accounts on the platform while some existing users opened other accounts only to withdraw funds for fear the market would soon close down.

The other major dark web to be closed by authorities was the famous Silk Road which was seized after some blunders by the site’s operator, Ross Ulbricht, known under the alias “Dread Pirate Roberts (DPR).”

Among the many errors that ultimately exposed his identity was to use his real name and email address to post on forums where he stated he needs help on how to code for his hidden site.

He also paid an undercover cop to assassinate a former site employee, and he also used his real photograph to rent servers for his website.

In the case of the RAMP market, perhaps its size and the fact that it’s only used by Russian speaking persons are the reasons why its closure hasn’t caught the attention of international media as was the case of other major markets such as AlphaBay, Hansa and Silk Road.

What Happens When a Market Goes Down

Darknet with matrix is shown by businessman.
RAMP Joins the List of Fallen Dark Web Markets.

Whenever markets exit from the scene for one reason or the other, users lose their Bitcoins for good.

Because of this, users ought to take precautions to protect their funds while using the marketplaces on the Tor network.

First of all, users should only deposit funds in their accounts when they need it. And as such, if by any chance the Bitcoins are in excess, then they ought to withdraw them with immediate effect.

This way, if by any chance the market goes down, the user will not have lost their funds.

Secondly, users should not use their real names and addresses to open accounts, since this exposes their identity. One can learn from the mistake of the Silk Road founder.

And, last but not least, users should always ensure that they make use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), as these programs enable users’ activities on the dark web to be more anonymous.

On the issue of dark web markets, it is evident that despite one marketplace closing down, others will have room to grow.

This means new sites, and the administrators who run them, are likely to have learned from the mistakes of their predecessors to be extra careful in doing business on the dark web.

As it is, the industry is a multi-million dollar one, since the number of operations carried out on a daily basis involve thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people.

And as a result, the amount of money transacted is running into hundreds of millions of dollars, meaning that the site admins will get a substantial amount in the form of commissions.

Treasure Hunting with Russian Drug Vendors

What if treasure hunting between drug dealers and buyers was commonplace? Well in Russia, facilitated by RAMP, the Russian Anonymous Marketplace, it is.

Treasure hunts are reminiscent of a playful childhood. Parents hiding treasures around the house, or perhaps the garden, giving clues to gleeful children on how best to find treats in their hidey holes.

We’ve seen adult treasure hunting explode across the world through geocaching, where people use GPS coordinates to leave small treasures, where others then locate the treasure and mark it off an online list.

And now there’s a new form of treasure hunting exploding in Russia: scoring drugs, by way of tricky GPS locations, pictures, and clues, facilitated by RAMP, a Russian deep web drug market.

Russia and drugs

In Russia, drug use and distribution is taken very seriously. While in other places around the world, drug policy may focus on user rehabilitation, this is not so in Russia.

Drug cases account for over 1 in 5 prisoners in the prison system, and possession, even of very small amounts of marijuana, can land you an extended stay in prison.

However, as we all know, this system doesn’t deter drug dealers and drug users from spreading and consuming drugs: it only makes them more clever in the ways that they go about trading.

RAMP the Russian Anonymous Marketplace

This Russian language market mainly deals in drugs and is structured as a message board.

Deep web marketplaces are nothing new. It has been over five years since the rise of these black markets, places online where illegal (as well as legal) goods and services like drugs, counterfeits, and hacked accounts are traded, all anonymously, via the Tor browser.

RAMP is the Russian Anonymous Marketplace, the most popular deep web market in all of Russia.

This Russian language market mainly deals in drugs and is structured as a message board, where dealers advertise their wares, and potential buyers message them to arrange a trade.

RAMP transactions are either conducted in either Bitcoin or via phone transfer.

However, unlike online marketplaces in other parts of the world, which typically send drug packages via the postal system, RAMP generally operates as a drug drop system or a treasure hunt.

Treasure hunting with RAMP

Drug drops are done in a very discrete way with RAMP. After funds have been transferred to a RAMP seller (a treasure man), the treasure’s GPS coordinates and a picture of the pickup spot are sent to the RAMP buyer.

This treasure is often placed by the seller days, weeks, or even months in advance, where it awaits a buyer requesting that exact substance and amount.

What it means for buyers is that they might be sent on a mad treasure hunt in a far-flung location within the city.

Sometimes RAMP drugs are hidden a little too well, or even not well at all, which can result in a buyer not finding the package, or even discovering that the package is not there.

A feedback system for RAMP

This is all detailed in public feedback to the seller on RAMP. Customers will detail whether they had a good experience in their RAMP treasure hunt, one that involved far more effort than should be necessary or one that resulted in them going home empty handed if they weren’t able to locate their treasure.

Some treasure hunts may result in customers searching for treasure for hours, especially if they are in a strange area like abandoned buildings, rubbish dumps, or even in the woods.

Searching for RAMP hidden treasure on private property can also draw the eye of others.

One customer’s feedback berated the seller for hiding a package on university property, when the buyer was not a student of the university, and required getting their details recorded in a guest register, simply to gain proper access to the grounds.

Will treasure hunting for drugs become a common practice in other parts of the world, too? It seems logical that a less risky method of delivery than the postal system would become a regular practice.

Perhaps in the years to come, we will see people hunting around areas, seemingly looking for something. Perhaps these people could even pass off their strange behavior under the guise of geocaching.

If RAMP can make treasure hunting popular in Russia, then it stands to make sense that another marketplace could do the same in other countries. Only time will tell.

RAMP Has Become The Longest-Lasting Darknet Market

Russian-language banner adsDarknet markets have a short shelf life. They have a certain innate tendency to implode, leaving behind a whole host of angry sellers and buyers in their wake.

Darknet markets that go offline for good either fall prey to:

  • The site administrators, via an “exit scam” when they run off with users’ bitcoins that they’ve been holding in escrow.
  • Hackers, by hacking in and stealing the bitcoins in escrow – often a claim of site administrators, but who can tell if they’re telling the truth or simply committing an exit scam themselves?
  • Law enforcement, if they track down the site administrators, seized funds, and shut the site down.

Of course, there are some markets that go offline of their own volition; however, it’s generally due to low numbers of users.

The Russian Anonymous Marketplace, or RAMP, is a darknet market that bucks that trend.

The RAMP site has been open since September 2012, so is fast coming up for their four-year anniversary.

They now have the prestigious title of the longest lasting darknet market.

A site created for buyers and sellers to trade in psychoactive substances, RAMP remains popular and continues to operate in a space where many have failed.

The second oldest marketplace that still open is Valhalla, which was created in October 2013, a year after RAMP.

RAMP and resilience

So just what makes RAMP so resilient? That cockroach that survived the nuclear war survived the blasts of Operation Onymous when law enforcement raided big names like Silk Road 2.0, Pandora, Cloud Nine, and Hydra, survived the lures of untold riches, and remained out of reach of hackers, how did it do that?

The answer lies in RAMP site setup. Three things, in fact.

  • RAMP is in Russian, based in Russia, and owned by Russians

Law enforcement in the US, the country that leads the majority of attacks against deep web enterprises has no say in law enforcement matters in Russia.

  • RAMP follows strict laws of operation

To stay out of the crosshairs of police action, the site actively operates under strict rules including no political talk, no violence, or arms, and more.

  • RAMP holds no funds in escrow

Because the site allows buyers and sellers to do deals without acting as an intermediary, there are no funds in escrow to steal. The market makes money just on seller fees.

These three design elements may not have been included with resilience in the administrators’ minds.

However, it appears that these three elements have been the key to the market’s ongoing success, and avoidance of the pitfalls other markets have succumbed to.

Operation in other countries

While RAMP is mainly Russia-based, the site also has sub-forums dedicated to other regions in Eastern Europe, which include Belarus and even Ukraine.

Ukraine has been at war for over 2 years, and yet it’s still relatively easy to find yourself a good score on the deep web there.

There are dealers in Ukraine offering everything from MDMA to weed, heroin, cocaine, 2CB and LSD.

Although Ukraine has its very own darknet market, PsyCo, RAMP remains popular due to being one of the largest non-English speaking markets.

In a world where war chugs along slowly, there needs to be an escape, and drugs can offer just that.

RAMP is not available for doing business outside these countries. For example, if you were in North America, you’d have to try your luck elsewhere.

Distribution networks for the site mainly work over a system of dead drops, where a seller leaves a package in a hidden place for a buyer to then pick up later.

As you can imagine, both buyer and seller (or an associate) need to be in a similar geographical location for this system to work.

Accessing RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)

Russian Anonymous MarketplaceWhy not browse RAMP yourself to have a look at how it operates? With some clever use of the Tor browser, a translation app, and a little bit of Google-fu, you’ll be able to access the site yourself. Grab yourself a login and password and browse the forums.

You can check in on conversations on shop boards about the quality of their goods, perhaps ask some questions in Russian, and get to know something just a little bit different from the regular.

If you’re in Russia or Eastern Europe, then you might just be able to go ahead and set up the deal too, if you so desire.

Make sure to check customer reviews for shops before making any purchases.

RAMP Has Outlived Its Competitors

russian dark webSilk Road. Atlantis. Utopia. Evolution. Agora. Nucleus. Darknet markets have a rich history of burning brightly before disappearing – either seized by authorities or coming offline without warning, never to return again. But what about RAMP?

RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)

Do you know about RAMP? RAMP, short for the Russian Anonymous Marketplace is the world’s oldest deep web marketplace. You might not know it by name, but that’s because the site is Russian.

You know Russia, right? That far north mystical place where the temperature chills right down, and they’re known for vodka and hitmen?

Well, maybe you’ve been watching too many movies, but the idea of Russia being a goldmine for certain underground activities really does shine through in RAMP.

RAMP was established in September 2012 and has been online ever since.

The site itself is less like the traditional escrow markets that you’ve probably encountered while browsing around the deep web and operates instead like a forum.

How RAMP works

Sellers put up ads for their items for sale under various categories, which buyers can then contact them through.

The payment is handled entirely between the buyer and the seller, so RAMP itself only generates income through seller account fees and advertising.

Because RAMP doesn’t hold funds in escrow for transactions, it means there is no point to the administrators doing an “exit scam” as they wouldn’t be able to make off with users’ funds.

The site is mainly drugs based – you won’t see weapons or the like for sale on it, and there are strict rules about what can and can’t be posted.
Most of the time the handover of the package will happen by something called a “dead drop.”

A dead drop is when the seller puts the package somewhere hidden in a public place which a buyer will then pick up after they’ve paid the seller via Bitcoin.

Is RAMP only for Russians?

RAMP Has Outlived Its CompetitorsBecause the RAMP site is in Russian, you’ll either need to be able to read Russian, know someone that does, or be very clever with Google Translate if you want to use it! Because the majority of sales are dead drops, you’ll also need to be in the country if you want to do business on the site.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule, you might be able to do business via mail, but it’s not standard procedure.

RAMP is also available in a few other regions in Eastern Europe. They are listed on the site in their own categories, one for each country. There are a lot less listings available for these countries, however.

Why it works

So just how did a forum-based Russian language darknet market outlive all the rest of its competitors? Well, that’s because it’s all Russian, and it’s a forum.

Because it’s a forum there’s no reason for the administrators to shut it down to exit scam, and because it’s Russian it avoids the far reach of the US justice system.

Russia is known for giving a big middle finger to any attempts from US authorities to try and gain information from the country.

You’ll remember that Edward Snowden can live freely in Russia because there is no extradition treaty with the US, and the FBI has no clout in the country.

Russia and the US are hardly what could be described as comrades, more like neighbors who are just tolerating each other barely!

There has always been a strong underground criminal element in Russia, and they also lead the way in underground activity online.

An organized system where everyone knows their place and anonymity is guaranteed means that the darknet markets such as RAMP can continue to flourish.

With anonymity a given and no definitive taskforce to tackle online darknet markets, RAMP is sitting pretty. The site can continue to operate without much fear of retribution.

Because the market doesn’t allow items like weapons, talk of violence, particular drugs like heroin, or talk of politics, it operates within the confines of what is reasonably allowed by law in Russia.

It avoids contentious items and topics and so is not going to be a target for lawmakers.

With this in mind, other people who would be considering starting their own darknet market could take RAMP as an example of how to do it right.

Owned and operated in a country where police aren’t interested in bringing it down, and hands off with money, it’s simple, and it’s effective, too.

While the administrators aren’t going to get suddenly rich overnight, it’s a reliable system.

Drug Education Site “Erowid” Was Blocked But RAMP Is Thriving Fast

RAMP

In Russia, there are plenty of drugs; you’re just not allowed to talk about them. Internet censorship runs rife – except on the dark web. With RAMP, the Russian Anonymous Marketplace, still thriving, the underground community embraces drug culture away from prying eyes. RAMP is a forum-based dark web site.

Internet Censorship by region

internet-censorshipMany regions around the world put various blocks on their internet access so that citizens can no longer access various domains. In Singapore, trying to access a porn site will likely result on you landing on a boring placeholder page saying the site you are trying to access is no allowed. In Indonesia, you can’t even access Reddit.

This form of internet censorship varies from geo-blocking, whereby the site locks you out based on where you live. For instance, you may have noticed this geo-blocking when you’ve tried to browse to a video site in the US if you live in Australia, for example.

Some countries are also a little more ruthless in their blocking of information. China is notorious for their internet censorship, banning citizens from accessing not only Google, but Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and even the New York Times – alongside many others. Other countries have varying degrees of censorship, and often the rules can ramp up and change swiftly, seemingly without rhyme or reason.

Censorship and Russia

imrsBack in November 2012, Russia, reputably one of the world’s biggest hotspots for illegal trading, enacted their internet censorship bill that was based around protecting children from harmful information. This includes information related to child pornography, suicide, and drug use. Additions to the law were added at a later date to include references to extremism.

The law is enforced by the Roskomnadzor, or the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media. The agency has been ruthless in their blocks, with everything ranging from torrenting sites, to online gambling. The agency has even put temporary blocks on sites such as Wikipedia and Github. They are particularly judicious when it comes to things such as attempts to rally protests and anti-government chatter.

The drug website blockings in Russia

Swiftly after the first set of blocking, which involved the vast majority of .ru drug sites, they made moves to blocking other drug related sites hosted in other areas of the world. One such site that fell victim to the Roskomnadzor was Erowid, in February of 2013.

For those who aren’t familiar with Erowid, it is a not for profit organization set up to educate people about illicit and non-illicit drugs. The website contains a wealth of information from scientific papers and journalistic articles, to large scale survey results, to user experiences, and other sources. It is perhaps the most well-known and well respected large scale source of information on drugs that exists online.

The factual site provides a beacon of hope for people wanting to find real information regarding drugs amidst a sea of misinformation that exists outside it. As one Reddit user so cleverly put it “I use Erowid as a harm reduction site.” The site is extremely useful for people who do use drugs to use them more safely. In Russia, removing this site from the web may have actually made drug use more risky.

And the real irony of the situation (and where RAMP fits in)?

While the Roskomnadzor are busying themselves to ramp up blocking websites left, right, and center, the irony of the situation is that the dark web is flourishing in Russia with sites such as RAMP. Many sites developed in other nations around the world are choosing to obtain hosting in the country, because in Russia they steadfastly refused to release information to other countries or cooperate with worldwide investigations, and hosts ask for no identifying information.

RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)

The oldest existing dark web marketplace, RAMP, is growing daily, too. RAMP is a Russian language drug marketplace that allows for private interactions between buyer and seller. RAMP operates as a forum where people come to buy and sell drugs. And it’s getting bigger, too. Has anyone benefitted more from the swift exits of other dark web marketplaces more than RAMP? It’s a debatable topic. RAMP features many thousands of users and the RAMP site is popular all over Russia, particularly in the larger cities.

RAMP on the Dark Web

While the Roskomnadzor concentrate on the Clearnet, drug culture is thriving in Russia on the dark web, particularly on RAMP. If you are travelling to Russia at any point, there’s always the option to download Tor and jump on the dark web to circumvent the censorship laws. Grab a Russian speaking friend and have a browse on RAMP, too. You might be surprised with what you find on RAMP!

RAMP: Products And Services

Russian-Anonymous-MarketPlace-300x82 (1)RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace) is the dark web’s longest running darknet market. The forum-style market has been around since September 2012, and is a Russian language market that operates primarily in Russia. The forums have over 100,000 different users (although not all of them active), making it a large marketplace.

An alternative to other darknet markets such as AlphaBay and Dream Market, the RAMP site is notable in its absence from law enforcement’s grasp. This appears to be due to the fact that it is run from Russia – a place where US law enforcement and their influence is not at all welcome.

The marketplace itself isn’t fancy – but it’s reliable, and it’s chock full of goods, too..

How do I use RAMP?

You access RAMP though a regular .onion address, similar to accessing any other darknet market. Signing up requires a username, password, email address, and a captcha answer. Once you’ve signed up you’ll be logged in to the RAMP homepage which looks a little bit like a forum from 1999. There’s plenty of flashy, colorful banners on top, advertising various stores in both Russian and English (think “MDMA HQ” and “Diamond Perfect Stuff”), followed by various forum rooms underneath.

There are rooms dedicated to more info about the marketplace, and then specific rooms for each store or seller on the marketplace. There are also regional rooms; however, they are not overly popular. Each room has moderators in place to ensure the conversations conform to the rules of the marketplace.

You can find a guide to access RAMP on this website in the side menu under “RAMP Guide”

What goods and services are available for purchase on RAMP?

RAMP (Russian Anonymous Marketplace)is a marketplace that deals in the sale of illicit and controlled substances only – i.e. drugs.

The most prolific illicit substances available on RAMP are marijuana, including wax, hash and hashish, cocaine, amphetamines, including methamphetamine, and MDMA (both crystals and pills).

There are also a number of other less popular drugs such as mephedrone, opium, PCP, 2C-B, 2C-I salvia, DMT, Nbome, A-PVP, mushrooms (psilocybin) and LSD.

Controlled substances available on RAMP include ketamine, modafinil, and methadone.

Heroin, a massive draw for sales on many of the other online darknet markets, is notably absent from the RAMP website.

Stores are labeled as to where they will distribute to, and what methods are available – for example via mail or pick up.

Some of the substances will be imported from other countries, e.g. hashish from Morocco, and others unlabeled for origin. Many stores will show the test results from the RAMP Marquise Test (a substance color-reactive test) which indicates the presence of MDMA/MDA/MDE, amphetamine, methamphetamine, heroin, morphine, codeine, methylone, mescaline, oxycodone, DXM, 2C-B, 2C-I, Ritalin, aspirin, and sugar. The results of these tests give the buyer somewhat of a guarantee of the quality of product that they are purchasing.

There are also rooms dedicated to particular regions such as Belarus if you are looking for something more specifically regional. As mentioned before, this is a Russian forum, so the vast majority of stores are Russian only; however, other Eastern European destinations are sometimes available, too.

What’s prohibited on RAMP?

Like many other darknet markets, RAMP puts exclusions and restrictions on the sale of various goods and services. Banned sales include pornography of any sort, carding and hacking techniques or tools, spam and malware techniques and tools, any form of weapons including explosives and general warfare, promotion of any violence (presumably including manpower for hire such as thugs and hitmen), and fake documents and banknotes.

It’s also against the rules to sell any form of synthetic cannabinoids on the market, and you may not advertise drugs by nickname without outlining the exact name for the substance.

Know Russian?

stock-photo-11609185-russian-flag-on-computer-key

As the marketplace is Russian language only, you will either need to know Russian yourself, have a friend handy who does, or make good use of Google Translate! If you are in another region of the world apart from Russia or Eastern Europe you will likely struggle to find a vendor who will send anything to you – or rather, they will sell it to you, but they will not deliver it!

For RAMP enthusiasts living in other regions of the world, you might be best leaving your shopping until you do some travelling up at the top end of the world.

If you’d like to get started with RAMP, head on over to their .onion address and sign up for an account. From there, you can browse through all the various stores and substances, to see what is available on this prolific darknet market.

If you don’t know Russian but need a good darknet market then you can check out Dark Web News as they have a massive list of all the darknet markets.

RAMP – Russian Anonymous Marketplace

Russian-Anonymous-MarketPlace-300x82When it comes to the corners of the deep dark web, the Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP) is one darknet market that has occupied real estate for some many years. Escaping wreck and ruin when so many online black markets have crumbled and fallen, either due to the influence of law enforcement, or due to administrator theft, resignation, or incompetence, RAMP stands tall.

And hey, it’s a great place to hang out for all your underground market needs – if you know some Russian that is.

How does it operate?

Online since September of 2012, RAMP remains the longest running online darknet marketplace, and continues to thrive, offering users a stable platform and an alternative to the other darknet markets, on the proviso that you (or your associate/translator) and able to communicate in Russian.

RAMP is more of a forum than a traditional deep web market, eschewing the Amazon-like system preferred by other sites, and instead operating in a manner similar to Craigslist. RAMP offers a private messaging system for users to communicate, takes a hands-off approach to payments, with users generally conducting payment transfers offsite, and admins are quick to ban scammers.  It’s simple, it works, and it avoids putting too put power in the hands of RAMP administrators, or, indeed, potential hackers.

What’s available on Russian Anonymous Marketplace (RAMP)?

RAMP-HomeWhen most people think of what sort of things would be dabbled in for those in certain circles in Russia, they think of a ton of vodka and lots and lots of drugs. Well – RAMP certainly doesn’t disappoint. RAMP offers a similar range of uppers, downers, and psychoactives to markets like AlphaBay and Nucleus. The forum bans all forms of pornography, weapons, hacking, carding, violence, and fake documents, and also bans any talk of politics – making it a market used (in the most part) for drug deals alone.

Strangely enough, there is a distinct lack of many opiates on the site, which is a little odd considering the demand for these types of drugs.

How can I buy stuff/sell stuff on RAMP?

RAMP accepts both Bitcoin and Litecoin in a bid to bring their customers more market options. Most of the “drops” are made in person, where the seller hides the goods in a public area for the buyer to pick up. This means that the vast majority of trades are done in Russia alone – with the majority in the capital, Moscow.

For sellers, you’ll have to foot a seller’s fee equal to a few hundred US dollars to set up shop on RAMP. You’ve also got the option to pay more for advertising on the site if you feel like your sales need a boost or you’d like to get off to a good start on the market.

At the moment, it appears that RAMP isn’t open for new registrations – so if you want an in then you’re going to have to find someone already involved to vouch for you.

Who’s behind RAMP?

The person at the helm of Russia’s biggest darknet market goes by the name of “Darkside,” has an Ed Norton avatar, and is thought to be a Russian. In 2014, he put the estimates of his income for the year from the site at $250,000 – nowhere near the astronomical accumulations of other darknet market site admins (due to the transactions on RAMP being fee-less), but more than enough for a comfortable existence.

He likens RAMP to the actual black markets in Russia, and follows a similar business model. He articulates that the avoidance of discussion of politics on RAMP is to avoid unwanted attention – something that can be a serious matter in Russia, with the government not known for their leniency towards those with opposing views.

What else?

As always, RAMP is a target of unknown DDoS attacks, and must move servers and shut down facilities occasionally to protect the interests of users. Knowing this in advance can save you the headache associated with it if you have accounts across at least two online marketplaces – so that one will always be functioning.

How has it avoided the FBI’s attention?

The short answer to this is: It hasn’t. Russia and America are not known for playing nice together, and so despite the fact that the feds might like to chase up RAMP in Russia, it’s likely the authorities have told them they aren’t going to be helping out – much in the same way that Edward Snowden was available to escape extradition by gaining a safe haven in Russia.

If you’d like to check out RAMP, it’s best to brush up on your Russian skills and head over to some forums to try and get an in to the market.