US Sanctions Russia’s Hydra Darknet, Adds Over 100 Bitcoin Wallets to OFAC List

The move came alongside action by Germany, which earlier on Tuesday shut down Hydra Market and seized $25 million in bitcoin.Read MoreFeedzy

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Hydra Market, calling it the globe’s largest and most prominent darknet market.

“The global threat of cybercrime and ransomware that originates in Russia, and the ability of criminal leaders to operate there with impunity, is deeply concerning to the United States,” said Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, noting cooperation with allies such as Germany and Estonia.

Earlier today, Germany announced the shutdown of Hydra and the seizure of 543 bitcoin (BTC) worth about $25 million.

The U.S. Treasury said it is also identifying more than 100 virtual currency addresses associated with Hydra’s operations that have been used to conduct illicit transactions.

OFAC’s investigation also identified about $8 million in ransomware proceeds that made its way through Hydra’s virtual currency accounts, including from the Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Conti ransomware variants.

Roughly 86% of the illicit bitcoin received directly by Russian virtual currency exchanges in 2019 came from Hydra, said OFAC, citing blockchain researchers.

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