Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office Takes Down Hydra Darknet Marketplace

This morning Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA), announced the official takedown of Hydra, the world’s largest illegal darknet marketplace. “[543] Bitcoins amounting to currently the equivalent of approximately €23 million were seized, which are attributed to the marketplace,” the BKA said in a press release. According to the BKA, the takedown was the result of the combined efforts of a years-long investigation of Hydra – a Russian-language darknet marketplace selling illegal narcotics, forged documents, stolen credit cards, and other illicit materials – by German and U.S. law enforcement.

What is Hydra Market?

Launched in early 2015, Hydra Market was the largest darknet market in operation, responsible for approximately four-fifths of all trade on darknet marketplaces. With a user interface presented entirely in Russian and catering to users located in former Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Moldova, Hydra Market offered contraband such as narcotics, fraudulent documents, and other services in exchange for cryptocurrency. Bitcoin was the only cryptocurrency accepted on Hydra.

Making Hydra Market unique amongst other darknet markets was its delivery system that was dependent on a trusted network of couriers performing ‘dead drops’ by hiding the products in various places and then sharing the information with the customers (geo-caching). This cut out the need to operate through legitimate government postal services or delivering goods through in-person exchanges. Additionally, Hydra Market offered an array of cash out services for instantly exchanging BTC into RUB for cash deliveries or wire transfers. Users could also rely on Hydra to acquire BTC through a variety of means, including via SIM card payments.

While its early days were marked by competition with another Russian darknet marketplace, RAMP (Russian Anonymous Market) , Hydra managed to monopolize Russia’s dark web ecosystem and in 2017 emerged as the country’s main darknet marketplace, generating over $500 million in revenue in 2018 and between 2019 and 2021, over $1 billion annually.


HydraMarket ScreenshotHydra Market’s marketplace operated similarly to an online retail platform that facilitates the buying and selling of goods among diverse consumers and a set of listed vendors.

As of this morning, visitors to the Hydra website are now greeted by a seizure banner that says: “The platform and the criminal content have been seized by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) on behalf of the Attorney General’s Office in Frankfurt am Main in the course of an international coordinated law enforcement operation.”

Other News & Reports

Forward-Looking Statements
This press release includes “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the “safe harbor” provisions of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, without limitation, statements regarding Artefaktum’s ability to strengthen the security profiles of its customers and partners. When used in this press release, the words “estimates,” “projected,” “expects,” “anticipates,” “forecasts,” “plans,” “intends,” “believes,” “seeks,” “may,” “will,” “should,” “future,” “propose” and variations of these words or similar expressions (or the negative versions of such words or expressions) are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance, conditions, or results, and involve several known and unknown risks, uncertainties, assumptions, and other important factors, many of which are outside Artefaktum’s management’s control, that could cause actual results or outcomes to differ materially from those discussed in the forward-looking statements. Important factors, among others, that may affect actual results or outcomes include Artefaktum’s inability to recognize the anticipated benefits of collaborations with Artefaktum’s partners and customers; Artefaktum’s ability to execute its plans to develop and market new products and the timing of these development programs; the rate and degree of market acceptance of Artefaktum’s products; the success of other competing technologies that may become available; Artefaktum’s ability to identify and integrate acquisitions; the performance of Artefaktum’s products; potential litigation involving Artefaktum; and general economic and market conditions impacting demand for Artefaktum’s products. The foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive. You should carefully consider the foregoing factors and the other risks and uncertainties described under the heading “Risk Factors” in Artefaktum’s registration statement declared effective by its inception date and other documents that Artefaktum has filed or will file. These filings identify and address other important risks and uncertainties that could cause actual events and results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Readers are cautioned not to put undue reliance on forward-looking statements, and Artefaktum does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.