The Frankfurt Public Prosecutor’s Office – Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) – and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) secured and terminated the world’s largest illicit Darknet marketplace “Hydra Market” in Germany on April 5. Bitcoins worth around EUR 23 million were seized that were ascribed to the marketplace.
The ZIT is currently conducting a preliminary inquiry into the previously unknown operators and administrators of the site in question. Commercial money laundering, among other things, is suspected, as is the commercial operation of illegal trading platforms on the Internet, the commercial acquisition or provision of a chance for the unauthorised purchase or sale of narcotics.
Since at least 2015, the illegal marketplace was a Russian Darknet portal that could ve accessed by the Tor network. Their main focus was on illegal narcotics trafficking. Furthermore, the site was used to profitably sell data from all over the world, fake documents, and digital services.
On the marketplace, more than 19,000 seller accounts and 17 million client accounts were registered.
According to estimates from ZIT and BKA, “Hydra Market” was most likely the unlawful marketplace with the greatest turnover in the world. Its revenues in 2020 alone were at least 1.23 billion euros. The Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a feature provided by the platform for obfuscating digital transactions, makes crypto investigations extremely difficult for law enforcement organisations.