After a six-year stint as the world’s biggest illicit credit card marketplace in the darknet market, JokerStash officially retired last February 3 after the website Joker’s Stash closed down.
‘Joker goes on a well-deserved retirement. Joker’s Stash is closing. When we opened years ago, nobody knew us. Today we are one of the largest cards/dumps marketplace. Unfortunately, or fortunately – nothing lasts forever,’ the Joker posted on the forums of the website.
In the announcement, the notorious card marketplace planned to cease operations by February 15. However, according to blockchain analysis firm Elliptic, the site had already shut down by February 3.
Joker’s Stash is considered the biggest carding site on the dark web. According to Elliptic, almost $400 million worth of bitcoin transactions were traded by users of the site since 2015 with annual sales peaking at $139 million. Moreover, a single card on Joker’s Stash was priced between $1 up to $150, depending on the card information available. The stolen card data was often used by users to buy gift cards that can then be traded into cash.
Possible reasons for Joker’s Stash closing up shop
Over the past six months since the pandemic, there was a severe decline with Joker’s Stash’s Card Not Present (CNP) and Card Present (CP) records as reported by Gemini Advisory, a New-York based company monitoring underground carding shops.
However, the slump wasn’t just brought on by the global pandemic since the illegal marketplace has long shown a decline in sales in the past two years. According to a blog post by Elliptic’s CEO Tom Robinson on their website, this could be caused by the increased security around card payments and advances in anti-fraud technology.
Just last December 2020, Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) teamed up to seize the domain names used by Joker’s Stash in an attempt to stop the site’s operations.
However, according to Elliptic’s report, the servers were unaffected after the federal seizure and users were still able to access the site through TOR mirrors, browsers used to access the darknet.
In his blog post, Robinson deduced that another reason that led to the Joker’s retirement was the cybercriminal’s $1 billion worth of Bitcoin profits. He added that the profits the carding site accumulated over the years was already substantial, especially with Bitcoin’s current market value of $47,000, and that the risks of continuing the website were no longer worth the effort for the illicit card dealer kingpin.
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