Authorities Shutter Dark Web Drug Bazaar, Seize $25 Million in Bitcoin

Police have shut down Hydra, an established dark web hub for money laundering and drug sale,

Officials from Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office made the announcement Tuesday about Hydra’s demise. They released a press release stating that authorities had taken much of the site’s server infrastructure and 543 bitcoins. This is approximately $22.5 million. Authorities claim they have been investigating the illegal market’s activities since August last year, with the assistance of several U.S agencies including the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency.

Hydra, a Russian-language darknet market, has been the biggest source of illicit online trade for many years. According to German police, the site had nearly 17 million users and 19,000 sellers before it was shut down. Hydra was a center for drug trafficking and hiding the origins cash. Its customers were mostly located in eastern European countries like Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, according to Elliptic, a blockchain analysis firm. According to Elliptic, Hydra has received more than $5 billion in Bitcoin transactions since its launch.

According to a press release issued Tuesday by German police officers, the illegal marketplace was a Russian-language Darknet site that had been accessible via Tor since at least 2015. Its sales reached at least 1.23 Billion Euros in 2020. The Bitcoin Bank Mixer, which is a platform that obfuscates digital transactions, made it extremely difficult for law enforcement agencies to investigate crypto-related cases.

Dark web sites can have a tendency to be resurrected, and online crime, just like offline crime will almost always sprout a new from the void of what has been destroyed. Look at AlphaBay, a well-known crime den that was originally launched in 2014. However, it was shut down by police in 2017. After an administrator of the original project decided that should be relaunched, was brought back to life last Summer.

So, Hydra is gone…for now. It remains to see if the site will grow its heads again, just like the mythic beast that it is named after.

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