German authorities shut down the server infrastructure for the Russian darknet marketplace Hydra, seizing €23 million (~$25.2 million) worth of Bitcoin in the process, German Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) Announced Tuesday (via computer beep).
Hydra is a large dark web marketplace that serves as a hub for drugs, stolen credit card information, counterfeit bills, fake documents, and other illegal goods or services. The market primarily caters to criminals in Russia and neighboring nations. “Treasurers,” or traffickers connected to the site, push the drugs throughout the region hiding them in geotagged pickup locations.
With the German-based server shut down, authorities are now launching an investigation into Hydra’s “unknown operators and administrators” who they suspect of selling narcotics and engaging in money laundering. German authorities say they have been investigating the market with the help of the US since August 2021. The BKA said the edge No arrests have been made so far.
In response to the closure, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. Announced which has sanctioned Hydra and the Russian cryptocurrency exchange Garantex. The United States is also working to identify 100+ cryptocurrency addresses with links to the illegal market.
“Our actions today send a message to criminals that they cannot hide on the dark web or its forums, and they cannot hide in Russia or anywhere else in the world,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen said. “In coordination with allies and partners, such as Germany and Estonia, we will continue to disrupt these networks.”
With nearly 17 million customer accounts and 19,000 sellers, Germany’s BKA and the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) claim that Hydra has the highest turnover rate of any illegal marketplace in the world, estimating a turnover around €1.23 billion (~US$1.35 million). ) in 2020 alone. German authorities note that cryptocurrency transactions on Hydra are especially difficult to trace due to a cryptocurrency shadowing service called Bitcoin Bank Mixer.
Last year, German authorities shut down darknet market DarkMarket, which had nearly half a million users at the time. Authorities around the world have long been trying to crack down on illegal markets, eliminating Silk Road, wall street marketand alpha bay over the course of several years.