Hydra Markets, one of the biggest darknet markets sites, has been taken down by German authorities. This was reported by Coindesk on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
According to the reports, the operation by the German authorities followed intensive investigations that commenced in August 2021.
The German operation also led to the seizure of $25 million worth of bitcoins or the equivalent of 543 BTC. This was after the servers serving the darknet site were secured by the authorities.
Obfuscation of Fund Using Bitcoin Tumblers
Hydra Markets has 19 million accounts and 17,000 sellers. This was revealed by the federal police who also stated that the attached mixer made it difficult to track the funds. Apparently, users of the site can only access it through the Tor browser and are required to use a cryptocurrency blender while making deposits and withdrawals.
The police statement said that the Russian language marketplace generated $1.35 billion in revenue in 2020. With the recent bust, the authorities gained access to a top darknet site that has been in operation since 2015.
Series of Darknet Market Shutdowns
Even though the statement did not disclose details of the operation that led to taking down the website, several darknet markets have closed down in the past few months following a suspicion that a code used in some sites may have been compromised. Among those that shut down towards the end of 2021 was Torrez Markets. The site has served Russian language users from countries such as Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Moldova.
The operation of the darknet has been a cat and mouse game between the law enforcement and cyber criminals. They utilize extreme technology such as Tor and obfuscating channels to conceal the identity of internet users and the funds that they move. These are mostly for dubious purposes that breach the law.
The investigations that led to taking down of Hydra marketplace was done in conjunction with the US authorities.