Germany shuts down darknet platform Hydra2022-04-06 17:30 by Daniela
German investigators on Tuesday shut down a Russian-language darknet marketplace that they say specialized in drug dealing, seizing bitcoin worth 23 million euros ($25.3 million). Prosecutors in Frankfurt described the "Hydra Market" platform as the world's biggest illegal darknet marketplace. They said they seized its server infrastructure in Germany.
"The illegal marketplace was a Russian-language Darknet platform that had been accessible via the Tor network since at least 2015," said German police officials in their press release Tuesday. "Its sales amounted to at least 1.23 billion euros in 2020 alone. In particular, the Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a service for obfuscating digital transactions provided by the platform, made crypto investigations extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies."
Hydra had been operating since at least 2015 and had seen a meteoric rise since then. In 2020, it had annual revenue of more than $1.37 billion, according to a 2021 report jointly published by security firm Flashpoint and blockchain analysis company Chainalysis. In 2016, the companies said Hydra had a revenue of just $9.4 million. German authorities said the site had 17 million customers and more than 19,000 seller accounts registered.
Shortly after the German action was announced, the US Treasury issued sanctions against Hydra "in a coordinated international effort to disrupt proliferation of malicious cybercrime services, dangerous drugs, and other illegal offerings available through the Russia-based site."
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