Evolution Market — the new avatar of Multi-sig for Bitcoin


Poly Paradyme
Activist Post

Reports are coming in from /r/darknetmarkets of another lesson for the crypto community. The forums are down. Withdrawals have stopped. Users are reporting all kinds of details and a lack of contact with the admins.

Information is emerging on the mega-thread that has been detailing some of the signs, and providing more information as it develops. Vendors will lose their deposits and escrow funds. Users will lose anything that was in a wallet or in their own escrows as well.

Evo’s fund wallet has been completely drained. Three million dollars it looks like.

Update: An additional wallet has been highlighted on /r/darknetmarkets. Thirteen million…..

But there are likely other funds involved that haven’t yet been found. The theft of these funds echoes something we have heard for about a year now. If you don’t own your private keys, you don’t own your Bitcoins. We saw this with Gox. With Silk Road (I & II). With every exchange that’s failed or company that’s gone under is another nail in the coffin of centralized funds.

What is multi-signature? It allows for funds to be stored with a multi-party affirmation of the security of your funds. You would require multiple consenting parties to provide the keys to move funds in a Bitcoin wallet. This is an ideal way to store funds without having to trust one entity with your money.

Darknet markets are shady enough as it is. You’re depositing your money in the control of anonymous crypto coders whom specialize in anonymity. The government can’t find them. They can vanish at a moment’s notice if they so choose and this was likely planned. Do you think the Internet will be able to locate them? I’m doubtful. We will see bounties placed. Their coins will be watched. But they likely will be able to tumble the coins with their knowledge of Bitcoin. They will eventually liquidate or exchange for other coins and we will never see the funds again. An all too familiar feeling in the Bitcoin world.

In many ways this theft is ironic because Evolution had the most aesthetic and feature-filled layout. Relative to Agora their website was much further ahead in design skill. This superb interface encouraged user trust and they built a fantastic reputation over time. It could even be that their intent this whole time was to build this reputation and run. It seems like a lot of time and money gone into developing the website itself, only to shut it down and run off. It *is* possible that something spooked the admins and they knew the feds were closing in. They may have decided to cut their losses and run.

The Avatar of multi-sig is a conglomeration of every centralized fund failure in the Bitcoin ecosystem. It’s time to provide and make easy user friendly multi-signature solutions. Not just for Darknets, but for exchanges, access points, and future payment systems. Users deserve the right to have access to the funds on their own accounts.

If users on different Darknets and exchanges continue to tolerate centralizing funds this scenario will continue to play out.

We need multi-sig as a mainstream option for Bitcoin. It’s time.

This article first appeared on Poly Paradyme’s Medium. Follow on Twitter.

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