Retro Market Review
Retro Market may not be a name regular darknet users instantly recognise, but having been open and trading since January 2021, it's somewhat of a veteran at this point having opened before AlphaBay 2.0, and surviving longer than it did. It's had a slow but steady level of sales to date (with many of these being for digital products for which it is most popular), but the admins of the market have shown determination to succeed, having implemented many new features during its time online, including transitioning from Bitcoin only to Monero only. Could it finally time for this old skool market to make its breakthrough?
Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and research purposes only. Torhoo does not promote, condone or accept any liability for any illegal activity that may occur when using Retro Market.
Retro Market key information:
- Retro Market Link (Primary onion URL):
- Online since: January 1 2021
- Cryptos accepted: Monero (XMR)
- Multisig support? No
- Walletless? No
- Vendor bond: $250
- Key features: Mandatory PGP 2-FA, Escrow, Jabberbot, Autowithdraw, Dark Mode
- Categories: Drugs, Fraud, Software, Tutorials, Counterfeits, Services
The first step when visiting Retro Market is to get past the anti-DDOS / anti-bot captcha. This is actually like a little mini game and one of the more creative captcha challenges we've seen to date. All you have to do is select the squares between the two images that are named above the maze. Where there are images in between, you simply ignore these. There are sometimes walls in place so you have to find a direct route. It's simple enough and usually only takes a few seconds to solve.
Registration / login process:
After getting past the captcha you can then login or create a new account. You'll need to select a display name (which is what vendors will see), a username (for logging in), password, and then verify your PGP for Two Factor Authentication (2FA). That's right, PGP is mandatory here. If you're not yet familiar with using PGP, we provide a detailed guide
which will tell you everything you need to get started.
Once you've verified by decrypting the PGP message, you will then receive a mnemonic code in case you ever lose you password and need to access your account. Ensure you copy and save the mnemonic as you will be asked to confirm it before you can proceed.
The landing page you'll reach once logging in contains all the market news feed, featured listings and search options. There's nothing too complicated going on here, and all the main functions you'll need to access are very easy to find, whether it being carrying out a search for a product or vendor, looking at the product categories on offer, or looking up details of a previous purchase.
Retro Market Terms and Conditions:
The rules of the market are quite straight forward, but clearly laid out so buyers and vendors are left in no doubt as to what conduct is expected. Doxxing, scamming or listing prohibited items (weapons, hitman services etc.) is strictly forbidden and will result in an immediate ban.
Most transactions are subject to a 14 day escrow period for physical goods and 48 hours for digital goods. Some established vendors are granted Finalize Early (FE) status however, meaning they get paid as as soon as they mark an order as shipped. We advise that you only buy from vendors with FE listings if you trust them 100%, as you will having no option for dispute if a product fails to arrive or is not as expected.
Vendors can join the platform by paying a fee of $250 (in XMR), but there are waivers available for those with 200+ successful transactions on up to 3 marketplaces.
Searching for products:
There's multiple search search filters on offer, which allow you to filter by product, vendor name, a vendor's PGP fingerprint, category, price range and shipping locations. Alternatively you could simply select from the list of categories.
Search results are displayed in a list format which shows a brief product description, vendor name and level, price (in USD) shipping from location, a photo, stock and sales numbers. Unfortunately you can't see the ratings of an order from here, but that's only a click away if you wish to view more information about the product.
Every listing contains one or more photos, a detailed description of the product, plus details about shipping options, price etc. You can also add a product to your favorites by clicking the blue 'Add to favorite' button, which will make the listing easy to find on future visits to the market, saving the need to carry out a further search. Where previous buyers have left feedback, you can also view this at the bottom of the listing, helping you make an informed choice before committing to a purchase. Note that products are always listed in USD (US Dollars), so you will have to calculate the price yourself in your local currency.
By clicking a vendor's name (highlighted in bright green), you can view their entire product range and all feedback they have received on the market. This will also show you how many transactions they have, how long they have been trading for on the market, and their last login date. It is particularly important to check this as sometimes as a vendor who hasn't logged in within the past few days is unlikely to ship promptly. You can also opt to add a vendor to your favorites, just like you can with individual product listings.
Making a purchase:
If you wish to make a purchase on Retro Market, you'll first need to deposit funds to your market wallet (see 'Wallet' in the top right of the header). Unfortunately Retro Market doesn't offer walletless pay at this time. Since Retro Market is Monero only, you at least don't need to worry about high transaction fees and slow confirmation speeds. You'll need 10 confirmations before the money is credited to your market wallet, but this typically only takes around 20 minutes. Remember to send a few percent more than you need to account for crypto fluctuation, and remember to factor in shipping costs.
Before making a cryptocurrency deposit, be sure you're not on a phishing site (check your onion link against those listed on Torhoo).
Once the funds are in your wallet, select the item you want from the product page, fill out your as shipping address, then decrypt the PGP message with your PGP key. This acts as a more secure alternative to PIN codes used by many markets.
Once your order has been submitted, you can view the progress in the 'Purchases' area. When the vendor accepts, ships or cancels the order, it will be displayed here and you will receive a notication. Once your order has arrived, you can then mark it as received and leave feedback for the vendor In the event of an issue, you can raise a dispute which will then be reviewed by market staff. We always recommend messaging a vendor first before disputing any order however so that the vendor has an opportunity to resolve the situation themselves. Disputing without contacting a vendor first means you are less likely to be successful in the event of a dispute.
As we stated previously, the Retro Market team has added quite an array of features during their years of trading. As well as all the standard features you would expect from any modern darknet market, here's a few notable features we think are worth highlighting:
- Vendors may add an employee which can be assigned to handle orders and may receive a percentage from the sales revenue. A great feature for large vendors.
- Cashback mechanism for buyers. Eligible users will receive cashback vouchers based on their spend on the market.
- Ability for vendors to send newsletters to subscribers.
- A Jabberbot for those who wish to receive notification updates without needing to login to the market (such as when a vendor receives a new order, or a buyer's order is shipped).
- Autowithdraw, meaning vendors can get paid automatically as soon as an order is finalized, meaning no need for manual withdrawals.
- Dark Mode for those who are sensitive to light color schemes.
Not a bad suite of features overall and plenty of make the lives of buyers and sellers much easier.
Conclusions on Retro Market:
- Security conscious market
- Simple and easy to navigate interface
- An array of rarely seen features such Jabberbot, Autowithdraw and Employee Mode
- Fiat prices are only displayed in USD, no other currencies supported
- No walletless / direct pay
- Search results contain vendors who are inactive / on vacation
- Scrolling text on featured listings can be rather annoying
Retro Market has shown its determination to be in the darknet market game for the long haul and has gradually added more and more features over time in order to ensure that buyers and vendors alike will have a positive experience on the platform. They've already managed to attract an array of well established vendors it feels like it's only a matter of time until Retro Market establishes itself as one of the top 10 darknet markets, particularly if the administrators continue to add features and develop the platform further. If you're yet to check it out, we recommend giving it a look as you may be pleasantly surprised by its offerings.