Update: Darkwallet has raised 22 BTC so far and has put up a public budget of where donations will go to.
Darkwallet has gathered its fair share of media attention, but just as man can't live on bread alone, projects need more than attention.
Things like servers, coders, and a website. It has reportedly been having problems for weeksLast night, Darkwallet.is went down and it is unclear when it is coming back. This sparked speculation that the project was dead, or that the developers took what they had and ran. That speculation was unfounded. The Darkwallet project was always live on github, its last pull was made three previous to the site going down, and its Alpha release was always able to be downloaded and installed into Chrome.
Once installed, you will find that the testnet will no longer connect, but the mainnet is still up and running. We have been able to confirm this ourselves and were able to send and receive bitcoins using the DarkWallet Chrome extension.
However, the project is coming up against a few challenges. According to the developer, a few ISPs are blocking their site and euroDNS seems to have put a hold on their payment. The bottom line is that they are asking the community for more bitcoins in order to keep the project progressing at a fast pace.
They say they want to create “Tools to create your own DAC, [distributed autonomous corporations]launder money to your own private super tax haven, a smooth beautiful experience and the best in instant yet private blockchain technology” but the funding from their $50,000 IndieGoGo campaign has dried up. Currently, the team is working on a volunteer basis, which doesn't often result in speedy development.
In a signed PGP statement on the Wiki, Darkwallet developer “Sysop” gave this statement: “Hello community Darkwallet Sysop here We had some problems with the DNS blocked at some ISP`s. We are migrating the domain to another server but something fails at the payment moment. Our invoice are pending because they declined our payment, but they take the money from our account. We are waiting for answer of the suport [sic] of eurodns. Sorry for the downtime. All other services are online. Some question, look for at #darkwallet irc.freenode.net Cheers”
In a Reddit thread, developer “genjix” said they were hoping to raise an additional 40 BTC. So far, is appears they have raised half of that. One generous contributor donated 10 BTC (roughly USD $5464 at current rates).
As mentioned, Darkwallet's Alpha 5 is still functional. Although it should be noted that as an Alpha release it is risky putting coins into it. The developers plainly state as much on their site. At least until the Beta is out (and maybe even past that) the developers warn that coins should put into the system are done at the sender's own risk.
Some users in the built in chat room are claiming that they cannot send or receive bitcoin through the system. We have been able to send coins in and out of the system as normal and the anonymous nature of the chat forum means anything could be a part of a potential scam. That said, as the developers clearly note, any money sent into dark wallet is at your own risk in this pre-beta stage.
If you are looking for an alternative, there are of course the alt coins that have anonymity built right in, like the CryptoNote coins, Darkcoin and XCurrency. There are also services that will mix your coins and send them back for a fee, but that does require some trust.
With the additional funding, the developers hope to release the stable build in the near future.