A marketplace created by darknet service veterans, Trade Route is envisioned to be the ultimate marketplace in the dark web. It is a darknet market purportedly created to serve the needs of those who have already grown tired of the scams associated with several darknet markets. Trade Route is a brainchild of seasoned programmers. It is operated and maintained by administrators who have the technical and administrative experience in running a darknet marketplace.
Trade Route Market URL Address:
- Buy Bitcoins – cheap prices
Alternative onion and not onion Links to Trade Route Market channels and Trade Route Forum:
- Reset your Trade Route password: http://traderouteilbgzt.onion/reset.php
- Trade Route Forum Link: http://Ztzh2de6crfkdgtl.onion
- Imposes security escrow and multisignature payments, no FE
- Provides the option for two-factor authentication (2FA)
- Progressively reduced transaction fees/sales commissions (2%-5%)
- Simple user interface
- Listings are mostly digital goods
- Referral profit program
- 24/7 support
How to Access the Trade Route Market
If you may notice, the traderouteilbgzt.onion web address of Trade Route is a .Onion link. This means that it cannot be accessed by just any ordinary web browser. You need the Tor browser to open it. If you are not familiar with this browser, we have a guide on downloading and installing the Tor browser so be sure to go over it.
In addition to the Tor browser, you also need to know how to use a VPN service, PGP, and bitcoins. VPN means Virtual Private Network, a service that prevents you from leaving online activity tracks that can be used to monitor your online activity. PGP is used for encrypting data or messages you share or send to Trade Route vendors or other users of the site. It allows you to have anonymous chats with dark web market vendors. Bitcoins, on the other hand, serve as the currency of choice for dark web market transactions since they enable anonymous buying or selling. It is recommended, however, that you also do bitcoin tumbling to further make your bitcoin transactions untrackable, to maintain your anonymity.
Signing up for a Trade Route account only takes a few seconds. The account registration form only asks for a username, password, and PIN. You then have to select a currency to be used in showing the prices. It could either be US dollar (USD), euro (EUR), Australian dollar (AUD), Canadian dollar (CAD), New Zealand dollar (NZD), British pound (GBP), or Swiss franc (CHF).
You may encounter some instances of having the wrong CAPTCHA so consider this tip: focus on the bigger (usually contiguous) alphanumeric characters. The smaller ones on the sides or those that don’t appear to be connected to the bigger characters are usually not part of the CAPTCHA you have to enter.
Once you have successfully registered for an account, you will get a notification about the successful account registration and you can proceed to logging in.
You will be getting a buyer account by default upon registration. To become a seller, you have to go to your Account page (link is on the top part of the site) and find the Become a Vendor section. You will be charged a fee of 100 USD, which according to Trade Route is meant to prevent scammers from using the site as vendors. This 100 USD fee is actually just like a bond as it will be sent to your account balance after you successfully close 100 sale transactions. You can also get this 100 USD fee back if you decide to terminate your vendor activity.
You may no longer have to pay the 100 USD fee if you have a high level of reputability in other major darknet markets like Alphabay or Dream Market. Just send a message to the Trade Route admin through the Messages page to get this vendor fee waiver privilege.
Trade Route Account Interface and Functions
Upon logging in, the Trade Route website shows virtually everything there is the site has to offer. On the top part, there are links to the most important pages (Shop, Messages, Orders, Account, and Profile). On the left side, the categories are displayed. Taking most of the page space are listings. There’s a search bar on top of the listings.
The Shop link is basically just the homepage so it’s not really a necessary link to be placed on top. The Messages link takes you to a message sending form that allows you to send a message to the Trade Route admin or support team.
If you want to send a message to other Trade Route users, you have to go to the profile page of the users you want to contact and use the Send Message link therein. You may also search for a Trade Route user using the search facility near the upper left corner of the Messages page. This search facility, however, can only find users if you know the exact username. By default, the message sending form sends your message to the Trade Route admin. If you do a search and the user is found, the message you send using the form is directed to the user you searched and found using the search facility.
The orders page on Trade Route offer an intuitive way for monitoring orders. New, Accepted, Shipped, Finalized, In Dispute, Canceled, and Unpaid orders have their respective tabs.
The Account page has the following tabs: Deposit/Withdraw (wallet), Account Settings, Edit Profile, and Become a Vendor. Go the Account Settings tab if you want to change your password and PIN, enable two-factor authentication (disabled by default), set the currency used to display prices on the site, and add your auto-withdrawal bitcoin address and multisignature public key. You can also find your referral link under the Account Settings tab.
If you click on the Profile link, you will be taken to a page that shows what your profile page looks like other users. There is nothing editable in this page. If you want to make changes in the information shown in your profile, you have to go to your Account Settings, the Edit Profile tab in particular.
Fees, Commissions, and Referral Profits
Trade Route charges transaction fees of 5% to 2%. Newly registered users are charged 5% and this rate progressively gets reduced to 2% depending on the volume of transactions and reputation of the user.
As mentioned earlier, if you want to have a vendor account, you will have to pay the 100 USD fee—or more aptly called a vendor deposit since this amount is credited back to your account balance after you complete 100 successful sales transactions.
Trade Route has a referral program that offers 10% of the commissions the site makes for every transaction (10% of the 2% to 5% transaction fee). You can find your referral URL under the Account Settings tab of the Account page. Be reminded, though, that this referral URL is also an Onion URL so it does not make sense promoting it in pages or forums frequented by those who are not familiar with the use of the Tor browser. You will get more referrals if you promote your link on darknet forums or websites like Deepdotweb that are dedicated to discussing dark web markets.
Categories and Listings
At the time this Trade Route review was written, the site had less than 2,000 listings. Most of what the site features are digital goods. The site’s category tree is presented below:
- Empathogens (85)
- Cannabis (169)
- Stimulants (149)
- Psychedelics (84)
- RC’s (1)
- Steroids (5)
- Prescription (25)
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Nootropics (2)
- Weight Loss (0)
- Dissociatives (2)
- Opiates (51)
- Paraphernalia (0)
- Digital Goods (1146)
- Guides & Tutorials
- Movies & TV Shows
- XXX Movies
- Forgeries (13)
- Driver Licenses
- ID’s & Passports
- Services (14)
Like other darknet markets, Trade Route also imposes some item restrictions. Not allowed on the site are firearms, explosives, items that are meant to harm others, child pornography, assassination services, and scamming.
The listings on Trade Route are presented in a grid with 5 columns. Each listing has a thumbnail image, price (in BTC and your preferred currency), vendor name and profile page link, and vendor rating. There are also active (green shield with check mark icon) and FE (red alert icon) indicators shown on the listings. Shipping information is also presented—the F and T part. F means “from” while T means “to.” Only abbreviations are used for the shipping locations but they should be understandable enough. WW, for example, means worldwide while US is United States and DE is Germany (Deutsche).
Trade Route Search and Search Filters
Trade Route has a simple search bar on top of the listings. It also has a simple results filtering system. You can sort search results according to the relevance to the keyword (most relevant to least relevant), popularity (bestselling to the least popular), item rating (highest rating to lowest rating), price (lowest to highest, highest to lowest), and date (most recently posted to oldest, oldest to most recently posted).
These filters are certainly not the best results filtering system among darknet markets we have already reviewed. The application of multiple filters is also not possible. However, it’s still good having them. After all, there aren’t that many items posted on the site yet. As the site expands, though, there should be a more advanced system for searching listings and sorting search results.
How to Choose a Vendor
The vendor profiles on Trade Route can provide some good amount of information to help buyers in assessing whether or not a particular vendor is a good choice. Presented in these profiles are the status of the vendor (active), date when the vendor became a member of the site, last login date, volume of sales, and shipping to and shipping from information. Profiles may also present overviews of the vendors as well as answers to frequently asked questions and some details about the vendors’ policies and terms. There are also buyers’ feedback presented in a separate tab.
The preferable vendor is one that is active, a member of the site for a long time, active on the site most of the time (based on the last login date), and has favorable buyers’ feedback and sales terms and conditions. It’s also advisable to opt for vendors that don’t require you to finalize early. It’s important, however, to not entirely rely on the information provided on the profile page as you make a purchase decision. It is advisable to also look for more information about the vendors you are considering in the official Trade Route forums or in other sources. Many vendors also maintain a presence in other darknet markets so you can find more useful information in these other markets.
Adding and Withdrawing Funds on TradeRoute
If you are ready to add funds to your account, click on your bitcoin balance on the upper right corner of the site or click on the Account link on top. This will take you to your wallet page, where you can send bitcoins to the indicated deposit address. Take note that the deposit address is only usable once. Don’t send bitcoins to the same address after a deposit. Deposits are estimated to be completed and reflected in your account in 1 to 2 hours.
For withdrawals, the process is straightforward. Just enter your bitcoin wallet address, the amount you want to withdraw, and your PIN. Withdrawal transactions also take around 1 to 2 hours to get confirmed. There’s a minimum withdrawal amount required: 0.001 BTC. Every withdrawal transaction is charged a fee of 0.0005 BTC, which is automatically deducted from the amount withdrawn.
To place an order, you have to go to the listing page to select your shipping option and click the Buy button. The process is similar to what many other darknet markets have. You just have to follow the flow as you click on the Buy button. Enter your shipping address and send the payment to the multisignature bitcoin address that will be flashed during the payment stage of the ordering process.
Trade Route uses two features that are deemed highly effective in preventing scams. These are security escrow and multisignature payments. Vendors receive the funds upon the delivery of the item purchased. Security escrow is being compared by Trade Route to PayPal’s system. It takes funds from the commission earnings to guarantee vendors that they can get their funds at the soonest possible time. Multisignature or multisig payments, on the other hand, ensure that payments are released when it is deemed proper to have them released.
Trade Route uses a 2-of-3 multisignature payment system. There are three keys involved: one for the vendor, one for the buyer, and another for TradeRoute. Once the buyer receives the item bought, the buyer can sign the bitcoin transaction to have the amount released to the vendor (of course the vendor is presumed to have also signed the transaction so 2 signatures would have already been obtained). In case the buyer fails to finalize the order and is unable to communicate with the vendor or with Trade Route within a period deemed reasonable to assume that delivery was already made, Trade Route can intervene and sign off the bitcoin payment transaction to have the funds released to the vendor.
Despite all of these systems, it’s curious why Trade Route still allows vendor that only do FE sales. We initially thought that all transactions are subjected to the security escrow and multisig payment system but as we explored the site further, we found listings that require buyers to finalize the sale early.
Trade Route Market Support
Trade Route provides 24/7 customer support through its ticket-based support system. If you have questions or requests for assistance, just click on the Support link at the bottom part of the site to file a support ticket. Trade Route also has an official forum for its users. The old Onion forum link, http://Ztzh2de6crfkdgtl.onion, has now been replaced by a new one: http://tradeforumzkw4bk.onion/. The old Onion URL redirects to the new Trade Route forum address, though.
Pros and Cons
- Appealingly neat and user-friendly site design
- 2-of-3 multisig payments and security escrow
- Progressively shrinking transaction fee or sales commission for Trade Route (from 5% to 2%)
- Promise of 24/7 support
- 100 USD fee for vendor account upgrade
- Limited search sorting or filtering system
- Limited number of vendors and few reviews for vendors and listings