Dark Web Site Nucleus Removes Weapons Listings after Paris Attacks

Nucleus, a darknet marketplace facilitating the sale of drugs and other illegal contraband, says it will no longer allow weapons

Nucleus, a darknet marketplace facilitating the sale of drugs and other illegal contraband, says it will no longer allow weapons sales.

Like with other darknet marketplaces, sales are conducted in bitcoin so as to obviate the need for financial intermediaries and thereby remain unrestricted and anonymous.

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In an update to its users this past weekend, Nucleus reportedly wrote:

“Dear users, in the light of recent events in France we have decided to remove our Weapons section and we are going to disallow weapons on our Market completely. Reason is it is not very secure for us to sell weapons here anymore. Thank you for your understanding.”

The update did not delve into details of how the events in France make it less secure to sell weapons.

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World leaders reportedly expressed suspicion that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which carried out the recent Paris attacks, secretly uses bitcoin to finance its operations. The leaders reportedly called for tighter regulations of virtual currency.

Separately, European ministers called for increased controls over anonymous payment methods, with bitcoin and virtual currencies “subject to particular attention.”

It has yet to be proven whether ISIS or other terrorist organizations use bitcoin.

Nucleus’s action comes roughly four months after that of Agora, one of the largest darknet marketplaces. It told its users:

“Following our mission we wish such objects would be available for purchase, but the current reality of it is that the format of a market like ours does not constitute a good way to do it. Shipping weapons is hard, they are expensive and stimulate both scamming by dishonest vendors and honeypot listings by agencies looking to find buyers who might wish to obtain such weapons illegally from us.”

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