Grams is a discontinued search engine for Tor based darknet markets launched in April 2014, and closed in December 2017. The service allowed users to search multiple darknet markets for products like drugs and guns from a simple search interface, and also provided the capability for its users to hide their transactions through its bitcoin tumbler Helix.
Type of site
|Darknet market search engine|
|Current status||Closed in 2017|
The services used a custom API to scrape listings from several markets such as Alpha Bay and others, to return search listings. The site is described by the Global Drug Policy Observatory to have "transformed how people search the hidden web".
In May 2014 the site added Gramwords, a service similar to Google's AdWords search sponsorship system for vendors. Additionally their profile system allows for cross-market vendor contact details and reviews to be held centrally.
Later that year in June the creators released Grams Flow, a clearnet to Tor redirection service serving various dark net sites and in November, a banner advertising network for Tor sites, TorAds which has not yet had much success.
'InfoDesk' allows central content and identity management for vendors, reducing the complexity of around maintaining presences on multiple markets.
On December 9, 2017, the Grams administrator left a PGP signed message on the Reddit subreddit r/Grams stating that all Grams services, including the Helix tumbler, would be shut down on December 16, 2017.
In August 2017, it was noted that an elaborate darknet phishing scam appeared as the top Google search result for "how to mix bitcoins", directing users to a fake version of the Grams Helix Light website that would steal their bitcoins.
Due to the enduring popularity of the site, and relative ease of replicating the first few digits of a .onion address, a number of illegitimate copies of the original Gram hidden service have been created. These include a scam version of flow, the search engine, and even copies of the drug marketplaces indexed. Several competing scams have replicated the "grams7e" portion of the address and are listed on links aggregators as if they are the now defunct original site. Like the Helix scam, these sites defraud unsuspecting visitors of any money or personal details entered on the fake site or fake marketplaces it linked to.
On February 6, 2020, the FBI and IRS arrested an Ohio man who they allege was the operator of Helix and Grams. Helix was said to have been partnered with AlphaBay, an illegal darknet market shut down in mid-2017.
- "Grams marketplace listing". DeepDotWeb. Archived from the original on 2017-09-11. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
- "Grams listing". DNStats. Retrieved 2017-09-01.
- Zetter, Kim (17 April 2014). "New 'Google' for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy". Wired. Archived from the original on 25 July 2016.
- Neal, Meghan (17 April 2014). "I Used the Dark Net's First Search Engine to Look for Drugs". Vice Motherboard. Retrieved 1 September 2017.
- Zetter, Kim (17 April 2015). "New 'Google' for the Dark Web Makes Buying Dope and Guns Easy". Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- C. Aliens. "The Darknet Search Engine 'Grams' is Shutting Down". DeepDotWeb. Archived from the original on 2018-01-24. Retrieved 2018-01-23.
- Buxton, Julia; Bingham, Tim. "The Rise and Challenge of Dark Net Drug Markets" (PDF). swansea.ac.uk. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
- ""Gramwords" Launched: Google Adwords Of The DeepWeb!". DeepDotWeb. 1 June 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Grams: Becoming Hub For DarkNet Info & Ads (Part 1)". DeepDotWeb. 31 May 2014. Archived from the original on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- "Grams Flow: Easy access to Hidden Sites". DeepDotWeb. 7 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Grams Grows with TorAds: First Advertising Network For Tor". DeepDotWeb. 18 November 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- "Happy Birthday To Grams!". 9 April 2015. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- Cox, Joseph (21 April 2015). "Banner Ads Don't Work on the Dark Web". Vice Motherboard. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "A Sneak Peek To Grams Search Engine "Stage 2: Infodesk"". DeepDotWeb. 17 May 2014. Archived from the original on 16 November 2015. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
- "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish". 9 December 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-12-15.
- "Introducing Grams Helix: Bitcoins Cleaner". DeepDotWeb. 22 June 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2015.
- "Helix Updates: Integrated Markets Can Now Helix Your BTC". DeepDotWeb. August 5, 2014. Archived from the original on 30 May 2015. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- White, Mike. "Deep Web Bitcoin Mixer's Recent Hack Restarted The Debate Of Darkcoin Vs Trusted Mixers and Trusted Mixers Won". CoinBrief. Retrieved 9 June 2015.
- Pearson, Jordan (31 August 2017). "An Elaborate Darknet Phishing Scam Is the Top Google Result for Basic Bitcoin Tutorials". Vice Motherboard. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- Jotham, Immanuel (31 August 2017). "Popular Darknet Markets tutorial on bitcoin mixing is a dubious phishing scam". International Business Times. Archived from the original on 1 September 2017. Retrieved 31 August 2017.
- Dingledine, Roger (Oct 31, 2014). "[tor-talk] Facebook brute forcing hidden services". lists.torproject.org. Retrieved 19 December 2018.
- An example of an scam site is "grams.link" Copy on archive.org.
- Both "grams7ebnju7gwjl" and "grams7enqfy4nieo" are examples of onion hostnames copying the first digits of the original site.
- Heisig, Eric (Feb 12, 2020). "Bath Township man ran service that laundered $311 million in bitcoin for darknet transactions, feds say". cleveland.com.