Germany Shuts Down Russian Hydra Darknet Market; Seizes $25 Million in Bitcoin

Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), on Tuesday announced the official takedown of Hydra, the world’s largest illegal dark web marketplace that has cumulatively facilitated over $5 billion in Bitcoin transactions to date.

“Bitcoins amounting to currently the equivalent of approximately €23 million were seized, which are attributed to the marketplace,” the BKA said in a press release. Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic confirmed that the seizure occurred on April 5, 2022, in a series of 88 transactions totaling 543.3 BTC.

The agency attributed the shutdown of Hydra to an extensive investigation operation conducted by its Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) in partnership with U.S. law enforcement authorities that it said had been underway since August 2021.

Launched in 2015, Hydra was a Russian-language darknet marketplace that opened as a competitor to the now-defunct Russian Anonymous Marketplace (aka RAMP), primarily known for its high-traffic narcotics market before expanding its focus to peddle forged documents and stolen credit cards.

“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,” Flashpoint noted in a May 2021 report. Read more:https://bit.ly/3O2O6Tt

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