Max E.Tue, Apr 5, 2022 8:00 PM
German Police Has Confiscated Hydra Servers & Seized BTC
On April 5, German law enforcement officials shut down a network of servers in Germany owned by the Russian-language darknet platform Hydra. 543 BTC were also seized. The number is equivalent to more than €23 million at the current exchange rate.
Hydra has been accessible through the Tor network since at least 2015. The Tor Browser runs through a network of thousands of server nodes that allows users to protect themselves from being tracked and surf the web anonymously.
Operators and administrators of Hydra are under preliminary investigation and are suspected of running criminal online marketplaces, commercially acquiring or enabling illegal drug dealing and money laundering.
Hydra was launched in 2015 after the merger of Way Away and Legal RC, which sold synthetic cannabinoids and designer drugs not available on RAMP, the then-leading darknet market.
The number of Hydra Market users grew steadily until mid-2017, when the liquidation of RAMP led to an explosive growth in registrations. As of mid-2019, 2.5 million accounts were registered on Hydra, 393K of which made at least one purchase.
In addition to drugs, Hydra sells counterfeit money and documents, as well as instructions for illegal activities. Hydra staff consists of dozens of people, including the advertising department, the security service, chemists and narcologists.
Hydra Market had plans to enter the ICO in 2020. They promised to put up a 49% stake in the project for sale. The money was supposed to be used "for software development, creation of Hydra own infrastructure and its promotion."
The German Federal Criminal Police Office and the Central Office for Combating Internet Crime, with the aid of American law enforcement officers, have been investigating the Hydra case since the summer of 2021. According to police, about 17 million people bought drugs on the marketplace, and another 19,000 users were registered there as sellers.
Although Hydra is based in Russia and serves the Russian Federation, Ukraine and neighboring countries, in 2019, 31.2% of all Bitcoins of criminal origin received by British cryptocurrency exchanges came from Hydra. All trading on Hydra is conducted exclusively in digital currencies.
Thus, the marketplace has become a hub for illegal cryptocurrency transactions in Eastern Europe, where cryptocurrencies are widely used. Cashing out cryptocurrencies is an important activity of the Hydra market. The buyer sends cryptocurrency to the marketplace and receives the equivalent in cash in a vacuum package buried in the ground.
According to a report by Flashpoint and Chainalysis, specializing in the study of crimes in cyberspace, in 2020, 75% of the profits of the global Internet drug market came from Hydra. In 2020 alone, Hydra sales amounted to at least €1.23 billion.