“The U.S. Department of Justice announced on April 5, it successfully joined forces with German police to smash and shut down the Hydra Market, the world’s largest underground dark web market. The German police shut down Hydra’s servers in Germany and seized $25 million worth of bitcoin.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice investigation, 80 percent of all cryptocurrencies traded on Hydra Market, the dark web in 2021. Since 2015, Hydra Market has traded about $5.2 billion in cryptocurrencies, earning tens of millions of dollars in commissions. According to foreign media reports, users of Hydra Market are mainly from Russian-speaking countries.
The Justice Department also indicted a Russian man named Pavlov on charges that set up and managed Hydra, making it a platform for thousands of drug dealers and illegal transactions. At the same time, the U.S. Department of the Treasury also announced sanctions against Hydra and the Russia cryptocurrency exchange Garantex, prohibiting Americans from exchanging funds, goods or services through Hydra or Garantex, and freezing related assets.
It is reported that Garantex’s main operations are in Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia. The U.S. Department of the Treasure believes that Garantex also uses illegal software to attack other people’s computers while assisting in money laundering.
In addition, some blockchain researchers pointed out, in 2019, 86% of the illegal bitcoins collected by Russia cryptocurrency exchanges came from Hydra. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said this move would not only obstruct cybercrime, illicit drugs and other illegal services from Russia, but also send a message to the outside world that criminals can no longer hide on the dark web or its platforms.”