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    Prominent Darknet marketplace shuttered by German authorities, millions in Bitcoin recovered

    Germany’s Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) have shut down Hydra Market, which boasted 17 million customer accounts and 19,000 seller profiles. Investigators also seized 543 Bitcoin valued at over $25 million. Authorities announced the shutdown via press release.

    The Russian-language Hydra Market had been up and running since 2015 and was previously accessible through Tor network. Alongside its main focus of narcotics trading, Hydra Market was also used to solicit document forging and other digital services. The BKA and ZIT estimate Hydra Market’s profits reached at least $1.3 billion in 2020 alone.

    Investigators began looking into Hydra Market in August 2021 with assistance from U.S. authorities. Today, authorities seized the server infrastructure of Hydra Market in Germany, effectively shuttering the site. But the investigation presented its fair share of roadblocks, with crypto mixers like the Bitcoin Bank Mixer making it difficult for investigators to track crypto transactions.

    “Today’s seizure of Hydra leaves a sizeable gap in the dark web ecosystem,” said Elliptic, a trusted blockchain analytics provider. Furthermore, authorities did not announce any arrests at any level, leadership or otherwise.

    Hydra Market had facilitated $5 billion in transactions since it came online in Dec. 2015. The site operated in countries including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, according to Elliptic.

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