As said before, nobody cares what you’re buying. If anyone asks where you got that new product all you need to say is “I have a connect”. Make sure to read this guide in whole before proceeding. It’s important you understand each and every step in order to have as safe an experience as possible. If you’re reading this with plans to start vending, stop reading here. This guide is not for you.
Part 0 – Preparing
USE A VPN SERVICE. You can find one here to best suit you, we review the best VPN Services for privacy on the market. Every time you use your computer your IP address is shown which reveals your actual physical address which means you can be traced very easily. A VPN must be used along with Tor (Tor is the free browser explained below) to make your online activity anonymous. When using a VPN Service it will hide your identity and location while also encrypting all of you internet traffic from everyone including your internet service provider. This technology will also protect you from identity theft and hacking when using free wifi because everything is encrypted. Any time you are searching for music, movies to download, pirated content, drugs or anything illegal then you should be using a VPN to fly under the radar. The law is trying to monitor everything we do now so don’t make it easy for them, don’t end up like the original mastermind of Silk Road and get busted. This is a must have in your anonymous arsenal.
In order to visit and make an order from Middle Earth you’ll need to prepare an environment. The following is the absolute minimum you should be using at all times. Once you’re more comfortable you should visit the Security Tutorials section to learn some new things about how to stay anonymous and safe on the DNMs.
Tor Browser Bundle
Head over to the Tor Project’s website and download the Tor Browser. This will get you set up to connect to .onion.top addresses that the markets use. If you need help installing there are instructions on the site below the download button.
This must be used whenever you’re sending sensitive information. It may be complicated at first, but it’s important you don’t use online methods like iGolder, as they’re not as secure. We have easy to follow guides for Windows, OS X, and Gnu/Linux. It’s also important to note that not all versions of PGP are created equally, and may be using insecure or outdated methods of key generation.
It’s kind of hard to buy anything without the funds to do so. This is where Bitcoin comes in. Bitcoin can be bought from an ATM machine, anonymously with cash, or with PayPal and credit cards. However you buy them is up to you, but most people will recommend cash. LocalBitcoin allows you to make cash deposits into sellers accounts or meet them in person. This will prevent your name from being attached to the Bitcoin.
You’ll need somewhere to store your Bitcoin. There are many different ways to do this, but a simple option is Electrum. It’s cross platform and has an Android app of sorts. It can be downloaded on Electrum’s website.
Part 2 – Some beginning tips
Your first order can be a scary experience. Here are sime simple tips to get you started, they’re from personal experience and from other stories around the web.
- User your real name and address. Mail carriers usually know who lives where and will report anything suspicious to their manager. If people you live with go through your mail, think about getting a PO box.
- If you feel like using a fake name, at least have the proper documents to back it up.
- Dark net markets aren’t your regular online stores. There are other precautions they have in mind and things will run slowly at times. Patience is key. Shipping times can be delayed due to weather or holiday conditions, BTC might not deposit right away because a market is having technical difficulties. The only time shipping time should be brought up is if it’s been 14+ days, or auto finalize is about to activate.
- While it’s only necessary to encrypt sensitive information, it’s a good idea to encrypt any messages sent.
- If you have a negative experience with a vendor, try communicating with them before leaving a bad review or complaining. Most reputable vendors are willing to work anything out.
- If a listing is too good to be true, it probably is.
- We do not speak about dark net markets
- We do not speak about dark net markets
- Try to order domestic (within your own country). Let the vendor take the risk of importing for you.
Part 3 – What is Middle Earth?
Smooth and user friendly interface
Part 4 – Setting up your account
You should now be logged in and brought to the main market page. On the left sidebar you’ll see the listing available. The top contains your notifications, cart, inbox, wallet, and profile link.
Securing your account
It’s a good idea to make your account secure as possible before making any purchases. Click on your username on the top right of the page to navigate to your profile page.
On the left sidebar click ‘Settings’. There will be a text box for you to paste your public PGP key in so vendors can contact you easier, and so we can set up two-factor authentication. Paste your key, make sure it’s all there, and click ‘Update profile’. You should now see your PGP key in your profile.
Next step is to set up tw-factor authentication. What this does is after logging in, it will encrypt a message using your key for you to decrypt, and paste the message in a text box. This confirms that you are the true owner of the account. Click ‘Security’ in the left sidebar.
Please keep in mind that if you lose access to your PGP keypair that you will also lose access to your market account. Make a backup of your keypair somewhere safe.
Under ‘Settings’ in the sidebar you can choose to upload an avatar, a signature used for the forums, and enter a bit of information about yourself. It’s important that you don’t upload or write anything that could identify you.
Part 5 – Choosing what to buy
We can now return to the market page by clicking ‘Shop’ in the top bar.
Middle Earth has plenty of search options and filters. You can; choose to see prices in BTC, USD, EUR, or GBP; search by country; filter by newest listings, title (alphabetical), pricing, vendor (alphabetical), and rating all in descending or ascending order; and choose to see listings as a vertical list or tiles.
Finalize Early (FE) vs Escrow
Finalize early listings will usually be designated as such in their title. Finalizing early means giving your funds straight to the vendor right after you order. This should be done with extreme caution, as even trusted vendors have been known to scam in the past. If you do choose to FE, make sure that you don’t need that money.
Escrow means the market will hold your funds until you finalize the order, or auto-finalize kicks in. This keeps your funds relatively safe as if you don’t receive your product you can dispute the order and possibly get your Bitcoin back. This should be done with caution as well. The Evolution fiasco is an example of why normal escrow should be trusted, markets can run away with your Bitcoin with no hope in getting them back.
Domestic vs International
This will depend on the amount of risk you’re willing to take, and how quickly you want your order to arrive. Ordering domestic is generally safer since the package doesn’t have to pass through customs. Making an order from “hot” countries is a bad idea. A hot country is one that’s known for exporting illegal goods, such as Pakistan (hash, heroin), Colombia (cocaine), or the Netherlands (MDMA). Ordering domestic isn’t always possible, but it should be done whenever you can. Let the vendors take the risk of importing.
Judging a vendor
You should always look at the vendor before making an order. You want to get a feel for how they act, how they operate, and what people think of them.
Directly on their profile page you can see their total rating, their status, how many orders they have completed, and if they’re FE approved. Another thing you should look at is when their last activity was. You don’t want to make an order from a vendor that hasn’t been online in over a week. It would be a good idea to read over the vendors profile before ordering as well to see if they have a ‘return policy’ or a certain way they want addresses formatted.
You can also click on ‘Rating’ in the left sidebar if you want to get a detailed look at reviews left for the vendor, or visit the market forums to see what people are saying.
Part 6 – Making your order
Hopefully you’ve decided what to order and who to order from, because it’s time to get to the meat of the guide.
Adding funds to your wallet
At the right of the market page you should see your wallet. Click on it, and it will bring you to your wallet overview.
From here you can see total deposited, total spent, and total withdrawn. You can also get your wallet address for depositing and withdraw leftover BTC. Make sure to only use this address once, and not generate a new address until you’ve confirmed your transaction made it through. Middle Earth waits until 6 confirmations are made before the funds are available to be spent. This will take around an hour, sometimes more depending on how fast blocks are mined in the blockchain. Patience is key here.
When the funds are available to be spent, that will be reflected in your wallet summary at the top right of the market page.
After you’ve confirmed the funds are in your market wallet it’s time to buy. Go ahead and click on the listing that appealed to you, and you should see something similar to the above picture. Choose what option you want for shipping and click ‘Add to cart’. You’ll be brought to the following page.
Here is where you want to input your encrypted shipping address, enter the quantity of product, and confirm that it’s what you want to order. It would be a good idea to check the vendors profile as well in case they want the address formatted a certain way. After you’ve done this, click ‘Buy’. You’ll now be brought to your order summary page.
On this page is where you can see the status of your order. ‘Paid’ means that you’ve made the payment, but the vendor has yet to receive the funds or confirm your order. ‘Sent’ means that your product has been sent. ‘Cancelled’ means the order was cancelled, usually if you’ve sent an unencrypted address or they ran out of stock. ‘Dispute’ means the order is being disputed, which only really happens if you open a dispute from not receiving what you ordered. ‘Paid FE’ is the same as ‘Paid’, except that you finalized early. ‘Complete’ is pretty self-explanatory.
You wait anxiously for the package to arrive. A week later you hear the glorious sound of a knock at your door. It’s Christmas in July, your product has arrived! Make sure to not throw out any mail either, vendors usually have excellent stealth. Some buyers have even thrown away their product because it looks like spam. If you can’t figure out where the product is, you can always message the vendor. After confirming you’ve received the product you should be a valued customer and release escrow. Vendors tend to dislike people that let the order auto-finalize.
If you didn’t receive what you ordered, or didn’t receive anything at all, message the vendor before opening a dispute. If the vendor is well known, it will usually come down to the vendor making a mistake and they will be more than happy to reship. If you can’t come to a resolution with the vendor, that’s when you want to open a dispute. Remain calm and polite during this. Middle Earth staff will take your past purchase history into account, as well as vendor selling history and feedback. If you were truly wronged chances are you’ll get your Bitcoin back.
Part 7 – Conclusion
Hopefully this short guide will help you have a safe and happy experience on Middle Earth Marketplace. There is much more to Middle Earth than what this guide covers, but that’s for you to figure out.