I, like most people, can walk out my door and have a hot cup of coffee in my hands in about 15 minutes flat. Why in the world, then, would anyone try and sell coffee on a dark web market, where drugs, guns, and hacked Uber accounts can be purchased anonymously for Bitcoin?
An anonymous Reddit user who posted in the /r/DarknNetMarkets subreddit this week asking if anyone would be interested in such a service has an idea or two.
For one, "turnuptuneinthrowawa" told me when I messaged them, buying a bag of coffee from the same place you buy coke would make for a great way to check if the feds have a bead on your address, or simply practice your operational security skills—using encrypted messaging and paying in Bitcoin. Dark web denizens are a notoriously paranoid bunch, so it's easy to see how such a service might be useful.
"I will vacuum pack the coffee, and as the coffee looks like a decoy, if noticed [it] will raise enough suspicion to open the coffee to check inside," turnuptuneinthrowawa wrote. "There will be no drugs, so they should just send it along."
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Turnuptuneinthrowawa plans on using gloves and a hairnet when packing the coffee, and making it look suspicious enough to be of interest to the authorities, they wrote, but really they just have a "passion for all things coffee." They also noted that they have a lot to learn about staying safe on the web, since not charging or paying taxes with your business is usually frowned upon by the authorities. Indeed.
When I messaged turnuptuneinthrowawa on Reddit, I offered my email, public PGP key, a tweet that proved the key was mine, as well as my Jabber address for Off the Record messaging, so I could be reached securely and anonymously. Turnuptuneinthrowawa decided to send me messages over the clearnet, on Reddit, instead. They could, of course, be disguising their location by using the Tor browser to access Reddit, but Tor is no failsafe against detection, either.
Turnuptuneinthrowawa is hardly the first person to try and sling beans over the same channels that sell hacked Uber accounts. Last year, another dark web coffee service made the news rounds and appeared to be, more or less, legit. Things seem to have gone poorly for them, though, since at the time of writing both their dark web and clearnet sites are down. I messaged the company over Reddit, and received no reply.
The coffee will cost $12- $15 per pound, turnuptuneinthrowawa wrote, and will likely be available on the Nucleus market some time soon. If the anonymous Redditor follows through, dark web drug users will soon be able to get some espresso with their heroin once again.