Russian Hydra Darknet Market, the world’s largest illegal dark web marketplace, was shut down by Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office on Tuesday. The darknet market has cumulatively facilitated over $5 billion in Bitcoin transactions to date.
According to BKA, “Bitcoins amounting to currently the equivalent of approximately €23 million were seized, which are attributed to the marketplace. Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm confirmed that the seizure occurred on April 5, 2022, in a series of 88 transactions amounting to 543.3 BTC.
An extensive investigation operation was conducted by the Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) in partnership with U.S. law enforcement authorities in August 2021, leading to the shutdown.
Hydra is a Russian-speaking darknet marketplace launched in 2015 as a competitor of the now inoperative Russian Anonymous Marketplace (aka RAMP). RAMP was known for its high-traffic narcotics market prior to expanding to peddle forged documents and stolen credit cards.
Flashpoint noted in a May 2021 report said, “Cybercriminals now use it to conduct illicit sales of stolen credit cards, SIM cards, and counterfeit documents and IDs, among other offerings — as well as to obfuscate their own digital transactions through regional exchanges and extended money laundering tactics.”
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