Dread (Darknet Market Forum) Review and Tutorial
Dread is a Reddit-like forum on Tor for darknet markets.
Dread is a forum very similar to Reddit on Tor, built from scratch by /u/hugbunter. It is designed to give information about darknet markets (what they sell, how to use them, etc.), as well as subjects like harm reduction, security, and scams.
How to Access Dread
Like all of the markets that we've reviewed, Dread is also located on the Tor network and requires the Tor Browser to access. If you haven't done this before, please see our tutorial How to Access Tor (.Onion) Sites for more detail.
Creating an Account
As on most of the markets, creating an account on Dread is fairly simple, although there are some security hoops you'll have to jump through. Because the forum has faced ongoing DDoS attacks, you'll first have to complete a captcha when you access the site.
These captchas are case sensitive. If you click the "How to Solve Captcha" link, Dread has a humorous explanation:
Use your brain to see the numbers and letters in the image. Then type them out below in the text box. Press verify or your enter key. No Zombies allowed.
After completing the initial captcha, you can then register. All that's required for registration is a username and password, though you have to complete a second captcha in order to finish the process. The second captcha works differently than the first, however.
On it, you will see an image like the one above, in which there are three rows of shapes. Look at the shapes that are filled in on the image, and then fill in the corresponding images on the grid before you click "Create Account." Hugbunter added this type of captcha to the site while doing a number of security upgrades to fight spam. After you complete the second captcha, you should be able to log in.
Interface and Functions
Dread's interface and functions are very similar to those of Reddit on the clearnet. Dread has what are called "subdreads," which are akin to Reddit's subreddits. Each subdread focuses on a different topic or market.
On the front page, you can see some of the most popular posts, which are like the "hot" posts on Reddit. On the right sidebar are suggested subdreads for you to subscribe to, based on ones you've already looked at or posted in. There are many subdreads that correspond to individual markets, such as /d/EmpireMarket, as well as more general subdreads such as /d/OpSec, which gives advice about security and anonymity. As on Reddit, posts and comments can be upvoted and downvoted. Trending posts appear at the top of the page (if sorted by "hot"). You can also sort posts by "New" or "Top" (posts with the most upvotes).
Deciding which subs to join and/or follow is a matter of personal taste and interest. As was the case on Reddit, there are subs entitled /d/darknetmarkets and /d/darknetmarketsnoobs on Dread. The former provides general information about darknet markets and announcements. The latter offers instructions to people who have never used darknet markets before, or have limited experience with them. Reddit had banned the corresponding subreddits, which was an impetus for the creation of Dread in the first place:
Categories and Listings
Unlike a standard darknet market, Dread does not have the usual assortment of categories and listings. That being said, on subdreads that pertain to specific markets or vendors, some will advertise items that they have for sale or discounts on specific items:
For instance, on the subdread /d/EmpireMarket, several vendors have offered free samples of their products so that buyers can get a taste before ordering larger shipments.
Search Functions and Filters
Like on most of the markets, Dread has a search function with several filters. The only required field is the "search term" field. Type in a term such as "molly," and you'll see posts related to that search.
Furthermore, you can filter the searches by author username or subdread name, and you can sort them by "Newest" or "Best Match." "Newest," obviously, displays the most recent posts pertaining to your query, while "Best Match" attempts to find the most relevant results.
How to Choose a Vendor
Again, while you can't purchase items directly from Dread, you can look at the subdreads to learn who the vendors are and what they have for sale.
If their posts intrigue you, you can visit the corresponding markets on which these vendors sell their goods (for instance, the post above pertains to Empire Market). When it comes to making the actual purchase, checking to see how recent each vendor was active, the number of sales they've completed, and user feedback are all good indicators of reputation.
How to Buy Products
As explained above, the only way to buy products directly from Dread is through peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions, which is not recommended. The best way to do so is search or visit a subdread pertaining to an item you're looking for, and then visit the corresponding market on which that vendor is selling. Dread has a plethora of useful information about which sites to use (or not use), so this shouldn't be an issue.
Dread's support feature differs from most marketplaces, as it is not a "dispute resolution" option. Even so, there is a "Message the Mods" feature, which you can access by clicking "Contact us" at the bottom of the page. This feature is for general questions about the site and is not recommended for questions about specific marketplaces. Those are best addressed on the subdreads themselves. Above the message field is a link to an FAQ as well, so it's recommended that you read that before contacting the mods.
Before sending your message, you must once again fill out a captcha similar to the one used when registering or logging in.
Pros and Cons
- Very informative forum for questions about darknet markets, security, and privacy
- Excellent security and anti-spam features (multiple CAPTCHAs, ID verification, etc.)
- Opportunity to talk with market vendors and mods directly about problems
- Occasionally there are subdreads or posts consisting of misinformation; it is up to the user to discern what's true and what isn't