German authorities shut down world's largest darknet marketplace, seize $25 million in...

midian182

Posts: 8,011   +87
Staff member
What just happened? German authorities say they have shut down the world's largest darknet marketplace, seizing 543 Bitcoin, worth around $25 million, in the process. Hydra Market had 17 million customers, 19,000 seller accounts, and what was likely the highest turnover of any illegal online platform.

Like other similar marketplaces, the Russian-language Hydra Market was a hotbed of drug trafficking and money laundering. The Frankfurt prosecutors' anti-cybercrime unit said it generated sales of 1.23 billion Euros ($1.35 billion) in 2020 alone, despite its customers being located mainly in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Moldova, according to blockchain forensics firm Ciphertrace.

Germany's Central Office for Combating Cybercrime (ZIT) and the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) today said they seized the server infrastructure of Hydra Market, which launched in 2015. The investigation started in August 2021 and also involved US authorities.

The BKA said that the Bitcoin Bank Mixer, a service for obfuscating digital transactions provided by Hydra, made it extremely difficult for law enforcement to trace the source and destination of the crypto payments.

According to Chainalysis, Hydra Market offered cash-out services designed to let users move large volumes of illicit cryptocurrency covertly, which allowed it to act as a money-laundering service for Russian entities. Surprisingly, however, it had not been used to evade sanctions placed on the country, and its transaction volume actually fell following the invasion of Ukraine.

This isn't the first time German authorities have shuttered a massive dark web marketplace. They led an investigation that brought down DarkMarket, used by around 500,000 people, in 2021. It mainly traded drugs, counterfeit money, credit card details, SIM cards, and malware.

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Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,981
But they claimed Cryptocurrency was anonymous!

They claimed the government couldn't seize it!

They claimed no one would ever know!
And crypto IS anonymous... but if you join a 3rd party marketplace and give your credentials to them... well, that's certainly going to be trackable...

The government can seize ANYTHING - but if you don't use 3rd party wallets, then they can only seize your wallet if they actually enter your home and take the HD - or whatever you store your wallet on.

How is cash any better for anonymity?

These "busts" remind me of the drug busts we hear about every few months... "police seize 100 million in heroin" etc... tell me, has the war on opiates been won yet?
 

Phaetos

Posts: 99   +76
These "busts" remind me of the drug busts we hear about every few months... "police seize 100 million in heroin" etc... tell me, has the war on opiates been won yet?

Well no, because, can anyone prove there was actually any "war on drugs"? Lots of advertising and propaganda, some nice pics of people standing over piles of a white powder of some kind. But it doesn't seem to have actually slowed down the import of drugs. On the back-end, the govt makes too much money to actually cut-off their money makers.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,981
Well no, because, can anyone prove there was actually any "war on drugs"? Lots of advertising and propaganda, some nice pics of people standing over piles of a white powder of some kind. But it doesn't seem to have actually slowed down the import of drugs. On the back-end, the govt makes too much money to actually cut-off their money makers.
That's my point... you can bust as many drug rings or crypto rings as you want... but you're not doing any damage to the actual drug trade - or to crypto...

Just a bunch of smoke and mirrors...
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 3,414   +5,724
And crypto IS anonymous... but if you join a 3rd party marketplace and give your credentials to them... well, that's certainly going to be trackable...

The government can seize ANYTHING - but if you don't use 3rd party wallets, then they can only seize your wallet if they actually enter your home and take the HD - or whatever you store your wallet on.

How is cash any better for anonymity?

These "busts" remind me of the drug busts we hear about every few months... "police seize 100 million in heroin" etc... tell me, has the war on opiates been won yet?
It's literally now. You can easily track transactions. The blockchain doesnt lie, it records everything. So you better not use your real name on any platforms that you use bitcoin on, or trade with. And you better use not only a VPN but a seperate connection for your trading, ebcause the IRS tracks that too. And you better not use that coin to buy anything on the computer that you use to trade coins, because they can track that.

It's actually trivial to watch where these coins go. The recent NFT bust by the IRS shows just how easily your identity can be revealed when using crypto. It's as anonymous as walking into a store with a mask on and handing over your ID.

On your cash argument......imagine if your dollar bill had a ledger that showed every wallet and hand it touched. It doesnt. But crypto coins sure do!
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 5,335   +4,981
It's literally now. You can easily track transactions. The blockchain doesnt lie, it records everything. So you better not use your real name on any platforms that you use bitcoin on, or trade with. And you better use not only a VPN but a seperate connection for your trading, ebcause the IRS tracks that too. And you better not use that coin to buy anything on the computer that you use to trade coins, because they can track that.

It's actually trivial to watch where these coins go. The recent NFT bust by the IRS shows just how easily your identity can be revealed when using crypto. It's as anonymous as walking into a store with a mask on and handing over your ID.

On your cash argument......imagine if your dollar bill had a ledger that showed every wallet and hand it touched. It doesnt. But crypto coins sure do!
The only thing that is traceable is the transaction... so provided you are smart - and use a different wallet for every transaction - then you can remain anonymous..

You realize that cash IS traceable... every bill has a serial number on it... it's there for a reason...
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,936   +3,794
TechSpot Elite
The only thing that is traceable is the transaction... so provided you are smart - and use a different wallet for every transaction - then you can remain anonymous..

You realize that cash IS traceable... every bill has a serial number on it... it's there for a reason...
The more these crypto haters talk, the more you see how ignorant they really are (on a tech forum, no less lol).
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,118   +820
One goes down another two come back up.

How many heads does a Hydra have .

Not sure they multiply like you said - but that's what enforcement has to do .
I've always believe in overkill from the start - so many companies have stuffed up from not doing that.
Kind of like the no broken windows policy

Visa and MC have tolerated 1 to 2% fraud right from the start - they should of made it hard from day 1 - now criminals are like those famous heroin rats - they can't be weaned off for a long time and effort pushing levers to get their hit .
Most countries now go overkill will their money - with 100 plus protections built in

Plus bank robberies with guns in most western countries now rare.

Never visited a silk road market - but you need to target the glue - "trust"
 

eforce

Posts: 1,003   +1,455
How many heads does a Hydra have .

Not sure they multiply like you said - but that's what enforcement has to do .
I've always believe in overkill from the start - so many companies have stuffed up from not doing that.
Kind of like the no broken windows policy

Visa and MC have tolerated 1 to 2% fraud right from the start - they should of made it hard from day 1 - now criminals are like those famous heroin rats - they can't be weaned off for a long time and effort pushing levers to get their hit .
Most countries now go overkill will their money - with 100 plus protections built in

Plus bank robberies with guns in most western countries now rare.

Never visited a silk road market - but you need to target the glue - "trust"
Where there is demand, supply is not far behind.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,118   +820
Where there is demand, supply is not far behind.
Yeah I get that - people try to sneak into The USA , USA Border guys try and stop them - nature of things.
My opinion is decriminalise nearly all drugs - tax and regulate them ( age control as well - it's easier for a 12 year to get get Weed if illegal - strange but true ) . Treat addition as a health problem not a crime .
Then what you have left is far more criminal etc - so easy money is gone to prop the black markets up .
I have no interest in taking drugs - drink rarely - but police wasting time chases marijuana users is a complete waste of police resources .
Would hold off on P - seen nothing good about that stuff - heroin, lsd etc have upsides - if taken sensibly ( ha ) then risk is lower than alcohol - a tiny % of weed users etc suffer psychosis etc
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 284   +200
Yeah I get that - people try to sneak into The USA , USA Border guys try and stop them - nature of things.
My opinion is decriminalise nearly all drugs - tax and regulate them ( age control as well - it's easier for a 12 year to get get Weed if illegal - strange but true ) . Treat addition as a health problem not a crime .
Then what you have left is far more criminal etc - so easy money is gone to prop the black markets up .
I have no interest in taking drugs - drink rarely - but police wasting time chases marijuana users is a complete waste of police resources .
Would hold off on P - seen nothing good about that stuff - heroin, lsd etc have upsides - if taken sensibly ( ha ) then risk is lower than alcohol - a tiny % of weed users etc suffer psychosis etc
You should visit Portland. Meth users get $100 fine if caught, and the amount of tweakers in this city is insane. I would say decriminalize, but I've seen what happens. Weed, that can stay decriminalized. No need to waste billions in taxes on someone who is getting the munchies. Let them eat their hohos in peace.
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 1,118   +820
You should visit Portland. Meth users get $100 fine if caught, and the amount of tweakers in this city is insane. I would say decriminalize, but I've seen what happens. Weed, that can stay decriminalized. No need to waste billions in taxes on someone who is getting the munchies. Let them eat their hohos in peace.
Yeah I mentioned I didn't like P - what we call meth - ice
I get it old people no future drinking bad alcohol.
Young kids who have been abused - think they have no future sniffing glue/petrol

But I don't understand Middleclass people trying meth - the addiction rate is off the charts - the amount needed is just a couple of times - compared to cigarettes - say 30 or 40 for kids and probably 150 for an old person .

If you have money and want to try meth - do cocaine
If you hate your daily grind do some opium based stuff

There are better answers - probably just going for a run naked in nature in the rain or sun after a few shrooms would make you a bit happier ,

Yeah I remember in the 80s when heard closing the large asylums - as teenager I knew that meant homelessness

Additionally - community care takes money and more importantly human resources most countries don't have - there is an acute lack of psychologists in NZ to get people mental health help - I did Introduction to Psy at Uni as an easy double filler for my degree ( can do X points off subject ) in my last year .
Ps never taken magic mushrooms - but that run sounds quite fun
 

BigRedPDX

Posts: 284   +200
Yeah I mentioned I didn't like P - what we call meth - ice
I get it old people no future drinking bad alcohol.
Young kids who have been abused - think they have no future sniffing glue/petrol

But I don't understand Middleclass people trying meth - the addiction rate is off the charts - the amount needed is just a couple of times - compared to cigarettes - say 30 or 40 for kids and probably 150 for an old person .

If you have money and want to try meth - do cocaine
If you hate your daily grind do some opium based stuff

There are better answers - probably just going for a run naked in nature in the rain or sun after a few shrooms would make you a bit happier ,

Yeah I remember in the 80s when heard closing the large asylums - as teenager I knew that meant homelessness

Additionally - community care takes money and more importantly human resources most countries don't have - there is an acute lack of psychologists in NZ to get people mental health help - I did Introduction to Psy at Uni as an easy double filler for my degree ( can do X points off subject ) in my last year .
Ps never taken magic mushrooms - but that run sounds quite fun
Oh! That's what P is! Yeah, I've never heard it called that here. Ice, shards, clear, and meth are mainly it. Shrooms are legal for medical research, but I haven't heard anyone getting in trouble for it since passing it. The Meth users, or tweakers as we call them, do basically whatever they want. Many will resort to thievery. Shrooms you can find under your local cow manure pile. If you pinch them and they turn a shade of blue, then they will do the job.

These dark web black markets will just keep popping up just like p2p applications did. Same with the warez sites back in the day. It has taken the US and German governments this long to bust 2 of them, which means this is an endless war. People will just congregate in another location.