- Germany has closed the largest DarkNet Marketplace Using Bitcoin and Monero
- As at the time of closure, DarkMarket had over half a million users and 2,400 vendors from around the world
- drugs, counterfeit money, stolen credit card data, anonymous SIM cards, and malware were traded.
- The German Police have arrested an Australian man for his involvement in running DarkMarket servers
A German-led police unit on Tuesday announced that it has taken down what is described as the “world’s largest” darknet marketplace running on cryptocurrencies.
According to the report made public, at the time of its closure, DarkMarket had nearly 500,000 users and more than 2,400 vendors worldwide. The investigators turned off the servers of DarkMarket on Monday, January 11, 2021.
What is DarkMarket?
DarkMarket is an illegal cybercrime marketplace found on the DarkNet. According to the prosecutors, on DarkMarket, all kinds of drugs were sold. In addition, counterfeit money, stolen and fake credit card data, anonymous Sim cards, malware, and much more were traded on the marketplace.
The report states that a total of at least 320,000 transactions were carried out on the marketplace. In total, more than 4,650 bitcoin and 12,800 monero were spent on the DarkNet market. Using today’s values, that represents over €140m ($170m).
An International Effort
According to the prosecutors, it took a combined effort of 8 different countries to bring down the online syndicate. Authorities say it took months of investigations from security operatives to discover and shut down DarkMarket.
The American FBI, DEA narcotics law enforcement division, and IRS tax authority joined Germany in the probe. In addition, police from Australia, Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Moldova were involved.
On the Flipside
- Cryptocurrency and blockchain are making an impact on the world with real, practical use cases.
- Last week, IBM and Thai Reinsurance Public Company Limited (Thai Re) launched “Insurer Network,” using the IBM blockchain Technology.
- The platform is intended to increase efficiency and speed in processing reinsurance contracts.
- Similarly, the Mediterranean Hospital in Cyprus announced that it had vaccinated its 100 doctors and nurses against COVID-19, using a blockchain-based mobile app, E-HCert to certify the immunizations.
One Arrested in the Recent Bust
The authorities announced that a 34-year-old Australian man was arrested just as more than 20 of DarkMarkets’s servers were shut down. These were the servers used in Moldova and Ukraine.
The man who was arrested near the German-Danish border was believed to be the DarkMarket operator. Information about the alleged operator is yet to be released by the authorities.
The Growing Use of the Darknet
DarkMarket has been operational for a long time. In 2019, three Dutchmen, three Germans, and a Bulgarian were arrested concerning the underground marketplace.
These individuals were believed to have provided the infrastructure for illegal online activities before they were arrested in September 2019. They have been on trial since last October in the German city of Trier.
Authorities have explained that due to the restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus much of the street trade in narcotics have been moved online, specifically the darknet.
This recent shutdown of DarkMarket is a move by authorities to clamp down the growing trend of illegal drug trades happening online.