Bitcoin plummets after a massive Deep Web drugs marketplace vanished overnight

The value of Bitcoin is plummeting after Evolution, a huge Deep Web marketplace for drugs and other illicit goods, vanished overnight.

Former staff members accuse the site’s administrator’s of stealing an estimated $US12 million in Bitcoin.

The graph below, courtesy of CoinDesk, shows the price of Bitcoin has dropped significantly. A day ago it was trading at $US290. At the time of writing it’s at $US268 and still falling.

Evolution operated much like a black-market eBay: independent vendors would sell their wares with the administrators taking a cut, and users able to leave reviews and feedback on the vendors’ goods. Only accessible through anonymising web software Tor, sales were made with digital currency Bitcoin.

But now, it has shuttered without warning, and the community believes that the two admins — Verto and Kimble — have made off with an estimated $US12 million-worth of Bitcoin held in escrow by the site.

Bitcoin is having a turbulent 2015. At the start of the year, it suffered a serious crash, losing 30% of its value in a matter of days. But venture capital cash is also flooding into the sector. Bitcoin exchange CoinDesk raised $US75 million in VC funding in February, and more recently mysterious digital currency startup 21 raised a record-breaking $US116 million.

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