In the past few months since the departure of the infamous Empire darknet market (DNM), large numbers of DNM users have flocked to alternative providers. More recently, a new bot service on Telegram called Televend has attracted tens of thousands of users and the service has become colossal since it was first introduced. Meanwhile, German law enforcement agencies recently seized nine Telegram groups that operated similarly.
The demise of the Empire darknet market has seen a wave of DNM users flocking to alternative DNMs, but also newly created Telegram channels offering illegal goods 24 hours a day. For example, in mid-October news.Bitcoin.com reported on a new complex system of Telegram channels of robot drug dealing called “Televend”.
Since our first report on the subject, the Televend system is still very active and has grown enormously since then.
For example, one of the Televend channels called “Buy Drugs” has 155,201 subscribers at the time of publication. Other branches of the Televend groups have doubled and quadrupled in size compared to our latest report.
“Televend is an auto-shop bot network for direct resellers”, explain the creators of the software in detail. “We manage the bots and the vendors manage them like private shops. Customers can visit and pay with bitcoins, track orders and payments, and leave feedback / ratings. “
Televend vendors check their lists and users need to locate a reliable vendor to access a specific bot. Drug vendors manage “their bot lists and configuration via a Tor .onion-based control panel, so no Telegram account is required for selling.”
From behind the control panel, suppliers can respond to customer messages, process orders and access other features. Today, Televend’s “Group Chat” has over 15,000 users discussing vendors, drugs and news.
At 10:23 am (EST) on Wednesday morning, a user wrote, “Can anyone recommend a verified bot that sells decent MDMA, please?” A number of other users in the chat message backlog show that many people asked the same question when looking for a reliable Televend provider.
A number of other users usually answer questions and often refer to a provider they trust. There are also many casual vendors who advertise items such as cannabis, opium, cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and even a colorful assortment of pharmaceuticals.
Meanwhile, in late October, German law enforcement agencies announced the seizure of nine similarly operating Telegram channels. A report translated from darknetlive.com shows that the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime (ZIT), the Frankfurt Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) participated in the kidnapping.
The BKA called Telegram’s illicit channels “alternatives to the darknet,” according to the official’s announcement.
The Attorney General’s Office revealed that investigations into these Telegram groups began last summer during June 2020. Prosecutors identified 28 vendors, and on October 29, German task force teams also raided. 30 different properties across Germany.
The police seized over four kilos of different types of drugs and around 8,000 euros in cash. The report also specifies that so far only two suspects have been arrested from the Offenbach district.
In addition to announcing the confiscations, German police revealed that nine Telegram channels have been closed. Interestingly, one of the groups was called “Silk Road” and the other market channels also had unique names.
The translated report also shows that Telegram channels had around 8,000 users before being hijacked. On Twitter, the market researcher and darknet analyst called “Darkfail‘discussed the seizure of the Telegram group and noted that he doesn’t think they were related to Televend.
“Telegram groups ‘Silk Road’ seized by the German authorities. These don’t appear to have been powered by Televend, an emerging alternative to the Tor crypto markets, “Darkfail tweeted.
What do you think of the massive growth of Televend and the recent seizures of Telegram channels in Germany? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, darknetlive.com,
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