Hydra Underground Web Marketplace Torn Down by Authorities
In a joint operation of the US Department of Justice and the German Federal Criminal Police Office, the popular dark web marketplace known as Hydra has been taken down and dismantled completely.
Both US and German authorities released official statements informing of the successful dismantling of the Hydra operation. Hydra was an illegal online marketplace, hosted on the dark web, offering anything illegal one can imagine, from drugs to malware and hacking tools, to fake ID cards and passports.
Hydra took cuts of every illegal crypto transaction
The way the marketplace was set up, every transaction was executed using cryptocurrency to make tracing as hard as humanly possible. Hydra itself was making a profit for offering its service as a market hub by taking a small cut from every successful transaction effected through the site.
In addition to taking down and dismantling the server infrastructure used to run the Hydra marketplace, international authorities also seized a staggering $25 million in cryptocurrency. The funds were seized in early April 2022, reportedly in 88 separate transactions amounting to just over 543 BTC.
That number may seem impressive, but it pales in comparison to what authorities estimate the Hydra marketplace has made over its lifetime, starting in 2015. The cryptocurrency raked in by Hydra over the years was estimated at around $5 billion - a staggering sum by any estimation.
Hydra marketplace made up 80% of all illegal crypto transactions in 2021
According to authorities, out of all dark web crypto transactions executed over the course of 2021, Hydra's share amounted to 80%. This is a good illustration of the sheer volume that the platform commanded, being the largest illegal marketplace on the Internet.
The Hydra marketplace was mostly frequented by Russian speakers and the US DoJ has pressed criminal charges against a Russian resident who is believed to be Hydra's administrator.