When 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)?
When 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.
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.