The dark web appears to be shutting down a notorious marketplace for stolen credit cards.
According to Elliptic Enterprises Ltd., a blockchain forensics firm, UniCC has announced on dark web forums in both Russian and English that it is shutting down. UniCC is the largest dark web vendor of stolen credit cards, with $358 million in transactions made on the market since 2013 using cryptocurrencies.
“Don't come up with any conspiracies about us leaving," one of the messages read, according to Elliptic. “It is a difficult decision for us since we are not young and our health does not allow for continued work like this.”
The news follows the shutdown of several other major dark web marketplaces. According to Elliptic, two markets that specialized in the sale of illicit drugs, Cannazon and Torrez, closed down in recent months. The former market leader Joker's Stash retired about a year ago, and White House Market announced its closing last October.
Stolen credit cards are offered for cryptocurrency on online marketplaces such as UniCC. The cards can have value and be used to acquire items or gift certificates that may then be resold for money. Carding, as it's known, can also be used to cleanse bitcoins obtained as a result of other sorts of cybercrime.
According to Elliptic, tens of thousands of new cards were offered for sale on UniCC each day. The retirement of UniCC comes amid a high-profile initiative by the Biden administration and law enforcement to combat cybercrime. The heads of UniCC may perceive a chance in the turmoil to acquire users' money or flee from fears of greater legal enforcement. Elliptic researchers say, the site had taken cryptocurrency payments totaling $358 million in Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ether, and Dash.