What happened now? German authorities say they have shut down the world’s largest darknet marketplace, confiscating 543 bitcoins worth about $25 million in the process. Hydra Market had 17 million customers, 19,000 merchant accounts and probably the highest turnover of any illegal online platform.
Like other similar marketplaces, the Russian-language Hydra Market has been a breeding ground for drug trafficking and money laundering. The Frankfurt prosecutor’s office’s cybercrime unit said it had sales of 1.23 billion euros ($1.35 billion) in 2020 alone, despite its clients being primarily in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan. , Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Moldova, according to blockchain forensic company cipher trace.
The German Central Cybercrime Office (ZIT) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) today announced that they have confiscated the server infrastructure of Hydra Market, which was launched in 2015. The investigation began in August 2021 and was also attended by US authorities.
BKA said that Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a digital transaction hiding service provided by Hydra, makes it extremely difficult for law enforcement to trace the source and destination of crypto payments.
According to Chain analysisHydra Market offered cash-out services designed to allow users to secretly move large amounts of illicit cryptocurrencies, allowing it to act as a money laundering service for Russian entities. Surprisingly, however, it was not used to circumvent sanctions imposed on the country, and its transaction volume actually dropped after the invasion of Ukraine.
This is not the first time that the German authorities have shut down the huge darknet market. They conducted an investigation, as a result of which, in 2021, DarkMarket, which was used by about 500,000 people, was stopped. He mainly dealt in drugs, counterfeit money, credit card data, SIM cards, and malware.