Zocalo is arguably one of the better looking marketplaces in the dark web. It is an anonymous online market created for those who want to buy and sell things with a full guarantee of anonymity. This darknet market asserts a strong policy against spam and blackmailing. Moreover, Zocalo appears to be positioned in some not-so-dark part of the dark web. Its list of restrictions make it appear less hardcore. This darknet marketplace prohibits hard drugs, counterfeit products, hacking-related items, and services involving fraud and identity theft.
Zocalo Market Main Market URL Address:
For Zocalo Market alternative onion and not onion Links toZocalo Market chanels are:
How to Access Zocalo
As a site on the dark web, the Zocalo .onion link url address http://zocaloczzecchoaa.onion/ cannot be accessed using ordinary web browsers. You need a special kind of web browser – the Tor browser. If you are unfamiliar with how to use the Tor browser, we have a post you can use as reference. The Tor browser is not only available for Windows users; it has versions for different platforms.
If you really intend to buy or sell things on a dark web marketplace, though, it’s not enough to just use the Tor browser. You also need to make sure that you don’t leave tracks of your online activities, prevent others from reading the information or messages you exchange with a vendor or buyer, and use a currency that allows you to maintain your anonymity as you buy or sell things. To do these, you need to use the following: a VPN service, PGP, and bitcoins.
These are basic things you have to be properly acquainted with if you plan on using the Zocalo darknet marketplace. Understand that if you are going to use a darknet market like Zocalo, you are going to be involved in an online purchase or sale transaction that is not supposed to be conducted out in the open.
To get a Zocalo account, the process is a bit different from what is usually done with other leading darknet markets. In addition to the usual requirements (username, password, and PIN), you will also be asked to enter your PGP public key (optional) and select your account type (buyer or seller), currency, and country. Completing the account registration process may take around 30 seconds to a minute depending on how fast your connection to the site is. You can quickly fill out the required information on the account registration form but you may have to wait for a few seconds as your registration gets processed.
The PGP public key field is only optional but you still have to get used to using it because you will eventually be required to use it as you make a purchase or as you use Zocalo as a vendor.
With Zocalo, you can only have either a buyer or vendor account but you can switch to a different account later on. An account can’t have both functions. To switch to a different type of account, you have to go to your Profile page (link url is on the top part of the site) and find the Switch Account to Vendor option to the right. You will be asked to send a bond of 0.15 BTC to enable vendor activation. This vendor bond will be returned to you if you decide to cancel your vendor account.
The Zocalo Account Interface, Functions, and Security
Zocalo has a functionally and aesthetically good interface. Upon logging in, you will see a page that makes it easy to find most of the information and functions you need. On the top part, there are links and urls to the most important pages on the site (Listings, Profile, Orders, Wallet, Messages, Help, Forums). On the left side, there’s a slightly shrunken version of the categories of listings on Zocalo. Taking most of the space at the center are featured listings and occasional site news or announcements. To the right, there’s a “shoutbox” or chat box but it’s not that useful. It’s a non-interactive and non-real-time chat box so we doubt if you would be interested in using it.
If you want to change some settings in your account, click on the Profile link. This will take you to a page that shows your username, public PGP key, invite count, time and date of registration, last login time and date, and link to your public buyer profile. You can change the currency used in your account (to USD, EUR, CAD, AUS, GBP), enable two-factor authentication, update your PGP key, and change your password by clicking on the Change Settings link to the right. Be sure to remember your PIN as you can only implement changes in your account if you have your PIN.
The Messages section is not just an inbox like what you would find in other darknet markets, but a complete messaging system. It has inbox and message drafting functions as well as an archive of sent messages. The Zocalo Forums, on the other hand, requires a separate account registration. We recommend creating an account with a different identity if you want to interact with other Zocalo forum users.
On the security side, we want to point out Zocalo’s apparent lack of an automatic session time out or if the site has this feature, there is a very long duration before a session gets timed out. We were surprised to find out that even after our computer went to sleep and lost Internet connection for a few hours, we were still able to browse the Zocalo website without being required to log in again. Not everyone can be very careful so it really helps if you get timed out after a few minutes of inactivity on the site.
Still, overall, Zocalo is one of the better dark web markets we have reviewed in terms of looks and function. The site was commendably responsive throughout the more-than-24-hour period we spent to observe it. The different elements are also neatly arranged, making it intuitive and easy to use even for those who are new to darknet markets. We just wish there were more information or guides provided in the Help section.
Fees, Commissions, and Referrals
Zocalo charges a transaction fee of 4% per transaction. In other words, this is the commission taken by Zocalo from the sales made by vendors. The percentage is based on the price vendors set for their products. Four percent s not a hidden fee for vendors or buyers. Through Zocalo’s default multisig payment system, buyers are required to leave 4% of the purchase price in their account and send only 96% of the price to the multisig address indicated during the purchase process.
Zocalo has a referral program that gives 10% commission for vendor referral and 10% for buyer referral.
Categories and Listings
Zocalo may sport a cannabis theme in its site design but it certainly offers more than just cannabis. An overwhelming number of the listings on the site, though, are related to cannabis. The categories and subcategories on Zocalo are presented below (with respective listing counts for the major categories).
- Cannabis (172)
- Psychedelics (10)
- Salvia Divinorum
- Dissociatives (4)
- Other Drugs (15)
- Paraphernalia (2)
- Tobacco (0)
- Raw Tobacco
- Chewing Tobacco
- Beverage (1)
- Gold / Silver (0)
- Gold Bullion
- Silver Bullion
- Precious Metals
- Clothing (0)
- Self-Defense (1)
- Digital Items (11)
- Services (0)
- E-Currency Exchange
- Other (6)
- Banned from Ebay
- Mushroom Spores
- Drug Test Kits
Many of the subcategories on Zocalo were empty at the time we did this review. It shows that the user base of this darknet market is not yet that diverse. It’s good to see, though, that the site presents categories even though they don’t contain listings yet as they can help encourage more users to expand to other products and not just focus on recreational drugs and cannabis.
Just like other credible dark web markets, Zocalo also has a list of banned items. These include products that are meant to harm other people, audio-visual products that feature violence, pornographic audio-visual products, items related to hacking and fraud, items related to faking identifications and identity theft, synthetic cannabinoids, hard drugs, NBOMe, DOM, 25-l phenelthylamines, biological agents, toxins, weapons, chemicals used in warfare, weapons of mass destruction, ammos, and counterfeit goods.
Zocalo readily presents the categories and some featured listings on the homepage. However, you can see a better presentation of these categories and listings when you click on the Listings link on the top portion of the site. The categories display subcategories when you hover your mouse pointer on them. The listings, on the other hand, can only be viewed in list view (rows) but they are neatly presented. There’s a listing thumbnail, product name (that also serves as the link to the listing page), price, vendor name (also a link to the vendor profile page), shipping origin (ships from), and shipping destinations accommodated (ships to).
For Vendors: Vendor listings automatically get deactivated if a vendor is unable to log into the site for 5 consecutive days. Also, Zocalo supports custom orders through the Private Listing feature. If you set a listing as a private listing, it can only be viewed by those to whom you send a direct link to the listing.
You can do a search from any page of Zocalo because the search bar is persistently positioned on the top portion of the site, along with the links to important pages. There are two types of results shown: vendors and products. However, the site has a rather weak search filtering system. You can only sort search results based on the time they were posted (most recent to oldest), the price (highest to lowest or lowest to highest), and country. The country sorting option displays results based on the product location (ships from) in alphabetical order.
At the time we did this review, since there weren’t that many listings on Zocalo, these search filters appear adequate. However, compared to the systems used by other major darknet markets, this search filtering system is inferior. There’s no option to limit results to FE or escrow-only listings. There’s also no option to only display listings from trustworthy vendors.
How to Choose a Vendor
Vendor profiles are available on Zocalo to help buyers in making informed purchase decisions. Vendor profiles typically provide the following information:
- Name of the Vendor
- Number beside the vendor name apparently indicating the credibility of the vendor. Not all vendor profiles have this, though. We examined several vendor profiles to figure out what the number means. It appears it is a percentage reflecting the average buyer feedback received by the vendor. Vendors that had 100 were those that had all 5/5 feedback ratings. Those that don’t have this number don’t have feedback ratings in them.
- Indicator if a vendor is a Verified Vendor
- Length of time the vendor has been on Zocalo
- Last login time
- Policies, terms, and shipping details
- Public PGP key
- Feedback from buyers (number rating, brief feedback, link to product, and date when the feedback was written)
When choosing a vendor, obviously, you have to go for one that has been on the site for a long time, has had several transactions, and has good buyer feedback and feedback ratings. Those that have been tagged as Verified Vendors are good choices but don’t but don’t choose a vendor simply because it is considered as a verified vendor. Be sure to examine the vendor’s policies and terms. Avoid FE vendors as much as possible, unless the vendor has already established a good level of credibility among other users.
FE, for those unfamiliar with the term, means finalize early. This means that the vendor reserves the right to ask the buyer to finalize the transaction to receive the payment held in escrow even before the product has been delivered or before the terms of the sale are fulfilled.
It is advisable not to entirely rely on the vendor profile when assessing a vendor. You can also go to the Zocalo forums for more insights or look for the presence of a vendor in other dark web marketplaces. Most of the vendors on Zocalo maintain accounts in other darknet markets.
How to Add and Withdraw Funds on Zocalo
Adding funds to your Zocalo account to be used in making purchases is similar to the setup used by most other darknet markets. The currency used is bitcoin (BTC) only. To make a deposit, you have to go to your wallet page (link is on the top portion of the site). Find the Deposit section (at the bottom part of the Wallet page) and click on the Generate New Deposit Address button. After doing this, a bitcoin wallet deposit address will be displayed on the page. This will be the deposit address you will be using for your account permanently.
Zocalo imposes a minimum deposit amount of 0.001 BTC for every deposit.
If you want to make a withdrawal, just go to the Wallet page and fill out the fields under the Withdraw section. You will be asked to enter your withdrawal address and enter the PIN you set for your account during the account registration process.
If you want to review the transactions you’ve had recently, use the View Wallet Transactions function in Zocalo’s wallet (link is on the right side of the Wallet page). You can also send funds to other Zocalo users (not only to pay for a purchase) through your wallet.
To place an order, you have to go to the listing page. There is no Place Order or Purchase button on the listing page. Be sure to examine the product’s specifications or description and the terms of the sale carefully before clicking on the Purchase Item button. You may send a message to the vendor to clarify some terms through the Message Vendor function. Be sure to have your message encrypted.
In the Purchase page, you will be asked to indicate the quantity of items you want to buy and select a shipping method. Once you click on the Proceed button, you will be taken to another page where you have to enter your shipping address. You will also be required to enter your PIN and bitcoin address public key for the multisig transaction. All sales, by default, are undertaken as multisig transactions. If you don’t have a bitcoin public key, Zocalo will automatically generate one for you. If you intend to use Zocalo’s automatically generated bitcoin public key, be sure to securely save the corresponding private key that will also be automatically generated.
As mentioned earlier, with Zocalo’s system, buyers will be required to leave 4% of the item price in their account. Only 96% of the price is to be send to the vendor through the multisig address.
Orders are automatically finalized after 15 days if no dispute is initiated.
Zocalo Help and Support
If you have inquiries or if you want to request for assistance from Zocalo’s support team, go to the Help page (link is on the top part of the site) and click on the Contact Support button. You will then be presented a message sending form you can use to send your question or request. You may also head to the Zocalo Forums but you will be required to sign up for an account.
Pros and Cons
- Good web design and decent page loading speed
- The compulsory vendor bond is waived for those who have a good vendor standing in other darknet markets
- Supports true 2-of-2 and 2-of-3 multisig payments
- No session timeout (security issue)
- Listings are mostly about cannabis and drugs (more than 91%)
- Limited number of listings and vendors