Authorities in Germany closed down Russian darknet marketplace (DNM), Hydra and seized Bitcoin worth $25 million.
Cover art/illustration via CryptoSlate
The US Department of Justice had announced that it had secured the biggest cryptocurrency forfeiture after a South Florida resident forfeited $34 million worth of cryptocurrency tied to illegal dark web activities.
Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida filed the civil forfeiture complaint and were successful.
US gets biggest crypto forfeiture
This came after identifying the unnamed resident involved in the large-scale sale of illegal items on several dark web marketplaces.
Not only that the person also hacked online account information of popular services such as Uber, Netflix, and HBO, among others.
The statement from the DOJ further explained that the individual used The Onion Router (TOR) to access the Dark Web. They were able to hide the sources of the funds and almost launder successfully by using “tumblers,” which are cryptocurrency mixers.
This, along with illegal money transmitters, made it possible for the person to perpetrate illegal activities.
DOJ and other law enforcement agents show they can tackle crypto crimes
While over 90% of crypto activities are legal, even if unregulated, many bad actors try to take advantage of the features that make crypto better.
Also, the rise of ransomware attacks last year and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine have led to an increased focus on crypto and its uses.
Though the crypto community has assured that it would be almost impossible for Russia to circumvent the sanctions being imposed on it via crypto, law enforcement agencies and financial regulators, however, have chosen to intensify their efforts in policing the activities within the crypto space.
This, inadvertently, would lead to a more secured and investor-friendly industry.
Interestingly, the federal law agents recently arrested two men involved in the Frosties NFT rug pull and will be prosecuting them.
Germany seizes Bitcoin tranche
It’s not only the US that’s going after crypto linked to illegal activities. Just today, Germany announced that it has shut down the Russian darknet marketplace (DNM), Hydra, and seized Bitcoin worth $25 million.
Hydra has been in existence since 2015 and per available data accounts for around 80% of the entire market share of DNMs.
The marketplace has more than 19,000 vendors’ accounts selling everything from narcotics to fake identities to its 17 million customers.
In 2020 alone, it had a trading volume of at least $1.2 billion. According to the BKA federal police, several institutions including US agencies were involved in the investigation which started in August 2021.