Darkleaks: An online black market for selling secrets

Whistleblowers and those individuals that are simply out to make a buck out of any confidential and valuable information, can now offer it for sale on Darkleaks, a decentralized, anonymous black market on the Internet.

The Darkleaks project is built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain, and can be used by downloading this software package (source code is open).

The process of releasing and buying the released information works like this (as explained by Zozan Cudi, a member of the Kurdish People’s Defense Units):

“When the leaker selects a document, it is broken up into segments. Each of the segments is hashed, and a Bitcoin address is generated using the hash as the secret key. From this public key, a new key is generated to encrypt the segments. The encrypted segments are released for public download with the list of Bitcoin addresses.

To prove the authenticity of the document, the system uses a trustless provably fair mechanism. When announcing the leak, the leaker chooses a date and number of the chunks to be released. Based on the Bitcoin block hash at that time, some provably fair random numbers are chosen to select segments to be unlocked. This allows the community to verify the veracity of the file and decide whether they want to pay for the remaining encrypted segments.

The buyers then send Bitcoins to these addresses. When the leaker decides to claim the Bitcoins from the private key, due to how Bitcoin is designed he must release the public key which allows the buyers to decrypt the document.”

The marketplace is supposed to offer anonymity for both the leaker and the buyer – the two don’t interact, and there is no central operator who might somehow discover their identities.

The people behind it say that this marketplace can be used to stop corruption and challenge power, but of course it can obviously be used by sellers and buyers with a more sinister agenda, as there is no limit to what information can be sold – Hollywood movies, government secrets, military intelligence, stolen databases, celebrity sex pictures, and so on…