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 announced the shutdown of Hydra Market and seizure of $25 million in bitcoin.

Apr 5, 2022 at 7:03 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 5, 2022 at 7:27 p.m. UTC

Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

The U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Russia-based Hydra Market, calling it the world'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, according to a press release.
  • 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, the press release noted.
  • 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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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

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Michael Bellusci is CoinDesk's crypto payments reporter.

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