When Silk Road was closed down by the FBI in November of 2014, Evolution took its place. Launched in January of the same year, the marketplace claimed the majority of the wash over from Silk Road’s implosion, and while Evolution wasn’t without teething issues, it was relatively successful in facilitating the innate human need to trade illegal things, namely drugs. It was also one of the most professional designed and coded websites of its kind.
Toward the tail end of 2014, Evolution was home to over 15,000 products, the majority of which were illegal. To put that in perspective, that’s a noteworthy amount more than its predecessor, and a mighty impressive feat for a website of comparable age. According to a Wired article published in October of 2014, the success of Evolution was attributed to “a more secure and professional operation than its competitors, but also by a more amoral approach to the cryptomarket than the strict libertarian ethos the Silk Road preached.”
Sadly, that secure and professional operation didn’t last. Two days ago, on March 18 2015, the two administrators behind the platform closed the shutters and made off with $11.7 million worth of Bitcoins, equal to the sum total of absolutely everything Evolution users had stored within the platform. Vert and Kimble – the pseudonyms used by the criminal masterminds – managed to completely shatter the ‘secure’ perception of Evolution in one foul sweep, and by doing so, put a large number of lives in danger.
With thousands of dealers losing their loot, and many having higher ranking officials to answer to, there will be blood shed over this. $11.7 million worth of drug money doesn’t go missing without at least a few people losing their lives, and sadly, this situation will be no different.
VICE also dug up two quotes from users, posted on Reddit’s Dark Web forum:
100% confirmed Evo is donzo. God dammit. I’m happy and sad at the same time. I was about to deposit about 200 worth of BTC and then this happens. Glad i didnt get fucked. I feel for the people who did tho. To the Evo admins who scammed: I hope you enjoy the 12M and screwing thousands of dealers and loyal buyers you fucking cunts. – TripAddict.
And one from NSWgreat, who seemed to be of higher ranking.
I hate to [be] the bearer of bad news, but I’ve been suspicious the past few days with withdrawals not working and admins usually are more forth coming in explaining to me why they’re slow but they weren’t this time.
I have admin access to see parts of the back end, the admins are preparing to exit scam with all the funds. Not a single withdrawal has gone through in almost a week. Automatic withdrawals has been disabled.
I am so sorry, but Verto and Kimble have fucked us all. I have over $20,000 in escrow myself from sales.
I can’t fucking believe it, absolute scum. I am giving this warning to you all as soon as I possibly could of.