The kingpin behind Joker’s Stash retires with a billionaire exit

Pierluigi Paganini February 14, 2021

The administrators of the most popular carding marketplace on the dark web Joker’s Stash announced his retirement.

Cybercriminal behind the most prominent carding marketplace on the dark web Joker’s Stash retires, he will shut down its servers and destroy the backups.

According to Forbes, the man has amassed a billion dollars worth of Bitcoin with its activity.

“The criminal behind the Joker’s Stash site, which trades in stolen credit and debit card data, has announced that all servers and backups will be wiped, and the site will never open again.” reads the article published by Forbes. “That criminal, who unsurprisingly goes by the pseudonym of ‘JokerStash’ or Joker for short, has shut up shop and is going into retirement. A rather comfortable retirement, assuming Interpol and the FBI don’t catch up with them, as a Bitcoin billionaire.”

One month ago, Joker’s Stash announced that its operations will shut down on February 15, 2021.

The administrator announced the decision via messages posted on various cybercrime forums.

Joker’s Stash Official Closing Message
Image source FlashPoint

Joker’s Stash is one of the most longevous carding websites, it was launched in October 2014 and is very popular in the cybercrime underground due to the freshness of its cards and their validity. The administrators always claimed the exclusivity of their offer that is based on “self-hacked bases.”

In December, Joker’s Stash was shut down as a result of a coordinated operation conducted by the FBI and Interpol.

At the time, the authorities only seized some of the servers used by the carding portal, but the Joker’s Stash site hosted on the ToR network was not affected by the operations conducted by the police.

The sized sites were at jstash.bazar, jstash.lib, jstash.emc, and jstash.coin, which are all those accessible via blockchain DNS.

Joker Stash admins said in a message published on a hacking forum that the law enforcement only seized the servers hosting the above domains, that were only used to redirecting visitors to the actual website.

The cryptoasset compliance firm Elliptic revealed that the Joker’s Stash site went down on February 3, 12 days before the date announced by the administrator. Customers of the carding site lost 12 more days to cash out their crypto balances, but it is not possible to determine how much they have lost.

“According to Elliptic’s analysis, the founder of one of the most popular carding marketplaces, Joker’s Stash, has retired having amassed a fortune of over $1 billion.” reported Elliptic. “Since 2015 almost $400 million in bitcoin was sent to the marketplace, with annual sales peaking at $139 million in 2018. Sales dropped over the next two years, reflecting a broader downtrend in carding activity – increased security around card payments has made their theft more difficult, while advances in anti-fraud technology have made it more challenging for carders to make purchases with stolen cards.”

Elliptic revealed that in 2018 alone, the carding site earned $139 million in sales, it estimated that the total earnings of the site between 2015 and 2021 reached more than $400 million.

“We can estimate JokerStash’s retirement fund by considering the fees charged by the marketplace.” continues Elliptic.

“JokerStash claims to keep all proceeds of the marketplace in bitcoin. If that is the case then the recent bitcoin price increase would have substantially inflated the value of assets. If we assume an average total commission of 20% on sales, then considering bitcoin alone (the site also accepts Litecoin and Dash) they would have taken a total of at least 60,000 bitcoins – which today has a value of $2.5 billion.”

In October 2020, Joker’s admin revealed that he had been in the hospital for a week due to a Covid-19 infection.

What will happen in the next months?

No doubt, existing and new carding sites will fill the space left by the exit of Joker’s Stash.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – hacking, Joker’s Stash)

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