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Hydra Market, one of the largest dark web marketplaces in the world, has been shut down by the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Hydra’s servers and cryptocurrency wallets holding $25 million in bitcoin were captured by the DOJ and German federal police yesterday.

What Is Hydra?

Hydra was a popular Russian darknet marketplace with a large Russian-speaking community that started functioning in 2015. It served as a marketplace for illegal goods and services such as drugs and their ingredients, stolen banking information, forged identification documents, and hacking services.

Payments on Hydra were made in cryptocurrency, with the operators making profits by charging a commission for each transaction carried out on the market.

According to ZDNet, DOJ stated that Hydra accounted for an estimated 80% of all darknet market-related cryptocurrency transactions in 2021, and the marketplace has received roughly $5.2 billion in cryptocurrency as of 2015.

The successful seizure of Hydra, the world’s largest darknet marketplace, dismantled digital infrastructures which had enabled a wide range of criminals — including Russian cybercriminals, the cryptocurrency tumblers, and money launderers that support them and others, and drug traffickers.

Source

In addition to closing down Hydra’s servers, the DOJ filed criminal charges against Russian resident Dmitry Olegovich Pavlov for conspiring to distribute drugs and committing money laundering in connection with his operation and management of the Hydra servers.

As an active administrator in hosting Hydra’s servers, Pavlov supposedly connived with other Hydra operators to further increase the site by providing the critical infrastructure that enabled Hydra to function and succeed in a competitive darknet market environment.

The DOJ also arrested a man in Florida a day before the Hydra closing and seized $34 million in cryptocurrency from him as part of a dark web bust, which the department described as one of its largest to date.

The arrested individual is accused of making millions of dollars by using a pseudonym to make over 100,000 illegal item sales and hacking online account information on many of the world’s largest dark web marketplaces. Hacked online account information for popular services like HBO, Netflix, and Uber, among others, was one of the illegal items he sold.

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