Hydra market was one of the oldest, largest and most trusted dark-net markets to ever exist. It has gained a huge reputation, and was used by millions, becoming the largest dark-net market. Being that size, the hydra has been in the law enforcement radar for an extensive period. Yesterday, law enforcement from different countries finalized a major operation, taking Hydra offline.
Hydra launched in 2015 and is the longest running dark-net market in history. The market is based in Eastern Europe, with most of its customers in Russia. According to law enforcement, in 2022 hydra had over 19 million registered users, and over 19,000 sellers. Between 2018 and 2020 the market grew over 630%. The sales on the market in 2020 alone amounted to over $1.3 billion. In total, the market saw over $5 Billion worth of transactions. Authorities claim that over 30% of those funds came from illicit, criminal sources.
Hydra offered many different services, including a very popular bitcoin mixer service. The service allowed users to shuffle coins around different wallets, making it hard to find their origin. Hydra even launched its own token to raise over $100 million for expansion towards the west.
The market was also very popular for its unique method of delivering goods to customers. Hydra had a very interesting interesting hierarchy of uber like delivery services. The vendor would drop off a larger package in a secret location, that was then picked up by a middle man. The middle man would then divide the goods and give them to other delivery men that would hide the packages around the city. After a user purchased a product, he would instantly receive the coordinates of the location.
According to reports, the first major investigations into Hydra were launched in August of 2021. The operation was coordinated by US and German authorities. On the 5th of April of 2022 the market was finally seized and taken offline. It is unclear if arrests were made but authorities say that the servers will help track the creators of the market. German authorities also managed to seize over 540 bitcoins, amounting to over $25 million.
The US Department of Justice also made a press release on the situation. According to them, criminal prosecution is being filed against operators of the market. According to the department, an indictment was also obtained against a Russian national. His name is Dmitry Olegovich Pavlov. He will be charged with conspiracy money launder, and distribution of narcotics.
According to the press release, the agency is working with different agencies around the world. This includes Russian authorities, which will be handed information to make arrests. Russia's latest stance against the dark-net has been made clear, with over 4 operations already completed in 2022. For this reason, it comes as a surprise that authorities were not much involved in the coordination.
Hydra has been around for years, and was the largest dark-net market for a while now. The latest take-down was a huge blow for the dark-net, especially for in Eastern Europe. It came as a surprise to many that German and US authorities were involved in such an operation. This is because over 70% of Hydras traffic is from Russia. This is most likely because authorities feared Hydras expansion towards the west.