ASAP Market Links
Established in March 2020, ASAP (or ASEAN as it was initially called) market wasn’t a huge success at the beginning, but leaped from 7000 listings to approximately 50 000 goods & services during the last year. Whether it is due to an avalanche of refugees from the recently closed markets or skillfully balanced security and usability, it is nice to see that the platform is finally getting the love it deserves.
Although the marketplace doesn’t offer direct (wallet-free) payments or Multisig Escrow, it presents its users with other helpful tools and has some unique traits:
- mandatory PGP encryption and 2-factor authentication;
- fair attitude to both buyers & sellers (e.g., Scam Hunter & Fake Review Detector programs);
- high standards for those who strive to obtain Finalize Early status;
- ability to pay with either Bitcoin (BTC) or Monero (XMR) via the traditional Escrow system.
Main Features & URLs
|Launched||March 2020 (originally known as the ASEAN market)|
|Number of listings||~ 50 000|
|Escrow with Multisig||No|
|Accepted cryptocurrencies||Bitcoin (BTC) & Monero (XMR)|
|Finalize Early (FE)||Yes, except for digital goods|
|2-factor authentication with PGP encryption||Yes|
|Mandatory PGP encryption||Yes (for vendors and buyers alike)|
|Vendor bond||$500 (can be waived for the established sellers)|
|Commission||3% (can be reduced for reputable vendors)|
All the provided information is valid on 04 June 2022. Therefore, please, visit the official website (links and sources are provided below) to verify if it’s still relevant.
Before You Go
If you wanted to buy something easily obtainable, you would turn to Amazon, wouldn’t you? With only a few known exceptions, almost all darknet markets end up getting busted or exit scams. Plus, phishing and DDoS attacks have started to occur more frequently than ever. Hence, if you want to navigate these dangerous waters safely, you have to be smart about it.
Here are some rules you might want to follow when you go to the dark side of the web.
The software you should have
- VPN service with a ‘no logs’ policy;
- dedicated operating system, preferably with advanced security capabilities (e.g., Tails or Whonix);
- trustworthy PGP client;
- personal e-wallet to deposit cryptocurrency (Bitcoin or Monero).
Things you should do
- Use the above-mentioned software for darknet activities only.
- Manually encrypt all the data and communication with PGP.
- Keep your PGP keys, credentials, PIN code, and other sensitive info away from prying eyes.
- Verify the site’s authenticity using the mirrors.txt and PGP.txt, if available.
- Conduct proper research on operations security, darknet markets, and cryptocurrency payments. Luckily, a multitude of instructions, tips, and manuals are available on these topics (e.g., you can read more about it on Dread d/OpSec, d/DarkNetMarkets, d/DarknetMarketsNoobs).
Things you should not do
- Enter or upload any info related to your real-life persona into your account profile or credentials.
- Open links from unknown sources. For instance, ASAP market URLs & mirrors can be found on dark.fail, Darknetlive, or Dread.
- Placing an order without checking the vendor’s profile and reviews.
Registration & Settings
Honestly, there is nothing here that experienced darknet users haven’t already got accustomed to or that newbies will not be able to cope with. However, to save you some time and effort, let’s get through the process of creating and setting up an account on the ASAP market stage by stage:
- Solve the captcha to enter the platform. It might be overly complicated sometimes, but most of the time it’s solvable.
- Go to the ‘Registration’ section. Fill in your username, password (x2), and PIN (x2). You will need this PIN to place orders or make important changes to your profile. Solve captcha.
- Proceed with logging in. Enter your username & password, and solve a captcha (again).
- Open your profile and choose the ‘Security’ section. Add a PGP public key and use it to decrypt the message. Save the changes.
On the ASAP market, you cannot reset your password or PIN. Thus, it is required that all users utilize PGP encryption and enable 2-FA. This additional security measure means that you will have to decrypt the message encrypted with your public key when you log into your account. So, make sure that you check the ‘enable 2FA’ box while changing the security settings. Plus, of course, store your credentials somewhere safe.
Available & Prohibited Products
ASAP is one of the rare platforms that allow visitors to see all the goods and services on display before making a purchase. This approach really helps with deciding whether creating an account is worth the trouble.
Search & categories/subcategories systems are probably the vestiges of the old days when the market was not so large in scale. Thus, there are no advanced search options and no logic behind the categories/subcategories disposition. Therefore, it might be a bit challenging to navigate.
However, the marketplace does have a lot to offer, especially when it comes to drugs. Here you can find:
- Drugs (~35 000 listings). Stimulants, cannabis, research chemicals, ecstasy, opioids, prescription drugs, psychedelics, dissociative drugs, benzodiazepine, paraphernalia, steroids, barbiturates, lab chemicals, weight loss, drug precursors, and tobacco.
- Fraud (~4700 listings). Bank accounts, credit cards, physical goods, and other fraud-related products/services.
- Counterfeits (~300). Currency, gold, and jewelry.
- Digital Goods (~8000). Hacking, data/information, security, software, tutorials, etc.
For security reasons, when a particular item catches your eye, don’t rush to put it straight into your cart, check these things first:
- Price, characteristics, and available quantity of the desired product;
- Destinations the seller ships from/to;
- Terms and conditions of the deal (refund/reship policies, shipping methods, acceptable cryptocurrencies, FE status, etc.);
If everything fits your requirements, add the listing to your basket and proceed with the checkout process.
Don’t forget to encrypt your shipping details with the vendor’s PGP key.
Naturally, the ASAP market supported the popular tendency and adopted a harm reduction policy that bans the distribution or advertising of the following listings:
- Murder for hire, products and services that can be used to maim people or cause violence;
- Guns and weapons that discharge high-velocity rounds or hurt any living creatures;
- Explosives, including chemicals/precursors that can be used to create them;
- Child, animal, or violent pornography;
- Human trafficking (including human/animal organs and body parts);
- Animals (both living or deceased);
- Deadly poisons and lab research viruses.
Remember, ASAP doesn’t support wallet-free payments, so you need to make a deposit before initiating the checkout process. This is a simple process, all you need to do is:
- Go to the in-built wallet in your ASAP account.
- Copy the payment link for your cryptocurrency of choice (BTC or XMR). Monero is usually named as a preferable one because of its enhanced privacy capabilities.
- Use this link to transfer the money from your personal e-wallet to the required address.
Try not to deposit the exact amount of money that you need to make a purchase (all commissions and charges included). Keeping extra funds on your account’s balance means risking losing it in case something unfortunate happens to the website. Yet, there is a minimum deposit that exists to prevent dusting attacks used by hackers to get the wallet owner’s private info. So, make sure that you transfer the sum that exceeds that minimum.
As soon as you’ve made a deposit and placed your order, the seller prepares and ships your package. Meanwhile, the platform holds your money in its Escrow account until you finalize the order upon its arrival. If your shipment is delayed, or you’re dissatisfied with the vendor’s services, you should contact customer support or open a dispute.
Orders of physical products will be auto-finalized in 14 days, digital products – in 3 days. Still, try not to make your sellers wait. They did their best to deliver your package as soon as possible. Now, it’s your time to return the favor.
An FE option is a quicker way to close a deal. In this scenario, your order gets finalized when the vendor changes its status to ‘shipped’. However, this scheme means that you will not get a refund if something goes wrong.
Generally, ASAP employ pretty high standards when it comes to being eligible for an FE status. To apply for the FE privileges, sellers must have:
- 20 000 completed sales & more than 95% positive feedback on one of the major darknet trading platforms.
- 10 000 completed sales & more than 95% positive feedback on the ASAP market.
Plus, keep in mind that digital goods and services cannot be purchased via an FE deal. But even with all the precautions, it is risky to place FE orders with the shops that you don’t know or trust. Always opt for the familiar/renowned vendors.
Although purchasing illegal goods have evolved from shady meetings in the dark alleys to the ability to shop from the comfort of your home (even using mobile devices, who could think, right?), it still entails a great deal of danger. That is why it is admirable that ASAP forces its users to treat all the dark web operations with the gravity they deserve. Plus, its ‘no excuses’ attitude towards lazy and irresponsible users who refuse to use PGP and enable 2-FA will definitely strike a chord with the old-school darknet users.
It would not be fair to say that ASAP made users solely responsible for their security. They installed some interesting protective features that include:
- Traditional Escrow;
- Mandatory PGP encryption & 2-FA;
- Ability to pay with Monero;
- Captcha & PIN;
- High vendor bond & high standards for getting FE status;
- No FE deals for digital orders;
- Automatic coin mixing;
- Automatic removal of EXIF data from images.
Aside from all the main security measures, ASAP has in store some unique programs to protect both buyers and sellers.
Within the framework of this program, the platform recruits vendors and customers as bounty hunters to keep an eye on other users. If they manage to collect enough evidence to prove scamming behavior, they will get a reward. Scammers will be reported, and the victims will get refunds from the site’s escrow account.
Fake Review Detector (FRD)
This system detects fake reviews and alerts the admins about them. Then they perform a manual check to determine if it wasn’t a false alarm.
This DeadDrop application allows its users to:
- Search & filter Pick Up Zones nearby;
- Add, edit, and customize Drop Zones (for vendors);
- Create listings for dead drop only (for vendors);
- Report surveillance cameras within a 1 km radius from the location of the drop.
The ASAP market is definitely not a place where admins will go easy on uneducated users. However, if you are a fast learner and are willing to follow simple safety guidelines, you will get access to some pretty cool things, including:
- a rich selection of listings (especially drugs) that are openly displayed;
- relatively strict security measures;
- high standards for vendors;
- unique features, such as Scam Hunter, Fake Review Detector, and Dead Drop.
It doesn’t have direct payments or Escrow with Multisig, but you can potentially minimize the possible risks by transferring the exact amount of money that you need to pay for each order.