Darknet market Jokers Stash closes
Bitcoin,  Regulation

Major darknet market closing as founder walks away a Bitcoin billionaire

According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the founder of Joker’s Stash earned at least 60,000 Bitcoin worth $2.8 billion helping hackers sell stolen credit card data

The hacker operating darknet stolen credit card data marketplace Joker’s Stash is retiring with billions of dollars worth of bitcoins.

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic reported on Feb. 12 that its analysis of the hacker behind the Joker’s Stash reveals that he must have amassed almost $2.8 billion selling a great number of stolen card credentials.

Elliptic estimated through blockchain analytics that Joker’s Stash received almost $400 million in Bitcoin since 2015, with annual sales peaking at $139 million in 2018. Sales volume decreased over the next two years due to improved security making credit card data harder to steal, and anti-fraud technology advances making it harder to use.

Elliptic estimated based on the fees charged by the marketplace and the rapid growth in the price of bitcoins, that the admins of the site earned at least 60,000 bitcoins, assuming a 20% commision on sales. At today’s value, that would be nearly $2.8 billion.

This downturn in sales volume may be the reason why the Joker’s Stash announced that it would cease its activity. That, or the founder simply made so much money that it’s no longer worth the risk. In a forum post announcing the site’s closure, the site’s owner or owners wrote that the market will never come back. It also offered some unlikely (and ungrammatical) advice to fellow cybercriminals:

“We are also want to wish all young and mature ones cyber-gangsters not to lose themselves in the pursuit of easy money. Remember, that even all the money in the world will never make you happy and that all the most truly valuable things in this life are free.”

While active, Joker’s Stash allowed for sorting, filtering and buying large volumes of stolen cards for Bitcoin with immediate delivery. The prices of cards ranged from $1 to $150, with many including the cardholder’s name, address and social security number.

Joker’s Stash launched in 2014. Since then, it has become the biggest market for “carders” wishing to purchase stolen credit card credentials on the deep web. Carders are people who use stolen credit card credentials to purchase high-value items or gift cards, which can then be resold for cash or crypto assets.

Joker’s Stash gained popularity thanks to the large quantities of “high quality” cards that its criminal partners sold there. Batches obtained through major business breaches were teased weeks in advance to hype up the “customers.”

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Adrian is a newswriter based out of Pisa, Italy. He's passionate about cryptocurrency, digital rights, IT, tech and futurology and likes to think about the future in a positive way.