Started in 2013 as a mainly Finnish site known as Silkkkitie, Valhalla grew to become one of the largest and longest-running darknet markets to date, opening up to a global market sometime in 2015. One of the reasons behind its longevity could be down to the fact it was running alongside some of the largest markets such as Alphabay and SilkRoad before they were taken down. This could have shielded Valhalla from unwanted attention until all the markets around it fell and it came under the spotlight of authorities.
Features and Listings
Payment and interface
Despite Valhalla being one of the oldest markets out there, it still supports most of the modern security features that are commonly seen with the newer markets. Payments, however, are restricted to Bitcoin only which can have some security concerns as it is not as anonymized as other cryptocurrencies such as Monero.
To purchase on the market registration is required, however no personal information is needed for this and images can be kept off as instead of using captcha a simple question needs to be answered. The most difficult aspect of registration is the fact that Valhalla requires an invite code in order to join, although these can be found relatively easily online.
The layout is comparable to many markets with different categories along the left, splitting down into more concise categories for ease of use.
Probably one of the most important features of the marketplace to protect buyers is the high vendor bond. At a whole Bitcoin, this is higher than almost all other markets out there. Currently that is valued at around $8000 which the market hopes is enough to make most scammers stay away from the market, this bond is refundable once a vendor has shown their validity though, compared to some markets that take it as a one-time payment. As with many markets however, trusted vendors from other markets can get the bond waived if they can prove their identity.
For each listing, there is a basic level of information about the vendor such as positive and negative feedback alongside a small thumbnail and description of the item for sale.
Vendors have full transparency on their profiles of past sales and ratings, this ensures that vendors work hard on keeping up a good reputation as users will check diligently before choosing which vendor to use. Additional vendor information includes the total revenue and the last active date.
Security is apparently taken seriously on Valhalla, users are required to use PGP encryption for messages to ensure that their data remains secure even in the event of a server breach or loss of account control. As this is forced, even the less tech-savvy users will have to better their OPSEC or choose another market. PGP keys can also be used to enable 2FA, further increasing account security.
Although there are other categories than drugs, Valhalla focuses mainly on this and the only other significant section is digital goods with around 13,000 listings currently, this is again split up into porn, fraud and others although some are lacking more than a few listings.
Self-defence, weapons and jewellery is available on the market, however there are not many listings for these items.
Valhalla was taken down on the 3rd May 2019 alongside wall street market by the German and Finnish police. This was announced in a Europol press release stating that the servers were captured alongside six figure amounts of cryptocurrencies seized. Two US citizens were also arrested for allegedly being some of the highest volume sellers on the site.