The U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned what it called “the world’s largest and most prominent darknet market” based in Russia and a cryptocurrency exchange associated with ransomware activities.

See related article: Russian-linked strains lead crypto ransomware in 2021: Chainalysis

Fast facts

  • The Treasury Department Tuesday sanctioned Hydra Market, alleging it offered a marketplace for illicit ransomware and hacking software.
  • It also sanctioned a related crypto exchange Garantex, which handled US$6 million in illicit transactions for Russian ransomware gang Conti.
  • The Treasury’s move reinforces its recent efforts to cut Russia from channels that could potentially be used to evade sanctions.
  • About 86% of the illicit Bitcoin received via Russian crypto exchanges in 2019 came from Hydra, the Treasury said.
  • Police in Germany Tuesday shut down Hydra servers there, seizing about US$25 million worth of Bitcoin.

See related article: Russians turn to crypto as Western sanctions hit the ruble