At the end of 2020, the darknet markets (DNM) set new records as markets like the White House and the Russian-language DNM Hydra led the pack. A report released on May 25 shows that Hydra has seen a 624% year-over-year growth rate in three years, and researchers estimate that around 75% of illicit DNM transactions originate from the Russian market. Additionally, privacy coin monero is increasingly accepted by providers on DNMs these days. As of June 29, monero recorded 84% supplier acceptance in three of the major markets.
Russian Hydra Darknet’s complex market eclipses 26 markets
While the cryptocurrency markets are declining, the use of darknet markets has continued to increase. DNM managed to remain lucrative throughout Covid-19 and statistics indicated that while the world was on lockdown, use of DNM was flourishing.
Many DNMs are operational today, as reports and data show that the two largest darknet markets are Hydra and White House Market. Other notable DNMs in H2 2021 include Cannazon, Cannahome, Torrez Market, Dark0de Reborn Market, Vice City, Aurora, and the Majestic Garden.
At the end of May, blockchain forensics firms Chainalysis and Flashpoint Threat Intelligence released a report that dives deep into the rise of Hydra. The report titled “Hydra: Where Cryptocurrency Roads All Lead to Russia and Go Dark,” explains how Hydra administrators impose strict rules on sellers using DNM.
Despite Hydra’s strict rules, the report emphasizes that Hydra continues to be profitable. In addition, withdrawals from providers are channeled through Russian exchanges and service operators, the report details. The Flashpoint and Chainalysis report adds:
Hydra’s market activity has skyrocketed since its inception, with annual transaction volumes increasing from a total of $ 9.40 million in 2016 to $ 1.37 billion at the end of 2020. Observed thanks to blockchain analysis, we are seeing a staggering 624% year-over-year growth. rate for Hydra in its most recent three years, 2018 to 2020.
Monero acceptance on DNM continues to increase
Darknet tracking data provided by the blockchain analytics provider 1000x group indicates that there are around 27 DNMs in service today. Nine of the markets accept BTC only, five markets accept BTC and a variety of coins, eleven markets accept BTC and monero (XMR), and two markets accept XMR only. Bitcoin-only markets include Darkfox, Hydra, Vice City, Aurora, Majestic Garden, Neptune, Mega, Global Dreams, and Flugsvamp 3.0. Meanwhile, dedicated monero markets only include White House Market and Archetyp Market.
Being one of the best markets like Hydra, White House Market (WHM) also has strict rules and monero (XMR) only acceptance is part of it. WHM also requires 2FA, the use of PGP, and the site is often down from DDOS attacks over the years. The DNM has thousands of suppliers and claims to have over a million users by 2021. WHM has attracted a huge amount of customers and suppliers after the fall of Dream Market and there are over 50,000 products listed today. hui. The DNM White House Market also pays a 4% commission on anything sold on the deep web portal.
Statistics show that monero (XMR) saw a significant increase in supplier acceptance on three specific fully operational DNMs. While BTC still dominates the DNMs, XMR generates significant acceptance in these markets. DNM tracker data shows during the last two weeks of May, XMR supplier acceptance was greater than 50%.
In the first two weeks of June, the monero fell below 50% and hit a low of 37.60% on June 8. However, acceptance of monero providers jumped to 84% on June 29 and has passed the 50% region since. . When monero hit a low in mid-June, there was a higher percentage of Litecoin (SLD) at the time. Supplier Acceptance Rate tracks supplier acceptance through Versus Market, Cannahome, and Cannazon.
Does Hydra have semi-official sanction from Russian leaders?
Meanwhile, as Hydra has grown into one of the biggest DNMs in the world after overtaking the former Russian DNM Ramp, Joe Biden’s administration is focused on Russia’s involvement with these types of actors. . Biden has spoken to the press about Russia and he wants Russia to crack down on cyber threats like ransomware.
Following the colonial pipeline attack and the Kaseya breach, Biden told reporters he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday. Biden said he told Putin he had to “take action” against these cyberactors.
“I said very clearly to [Vladmir Putin] that the United States waits when a ransomware operation originates from its soil, even if it is not state sponsored, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who it is ”, Biden stress this week.
Now, ransomware is one thing, but Bloomberg contributor Leonid Bershidsky believes it is possible that Hydra has some sort of “semi-official sanction” from the Russian leadership. Bershidsky notes in a recent article that “the hydra of Russia, its krysha, or its protection, is the elephant of the play.” The author explains that Putin has no real incentive to crack down on the DNM and he also thinks that “the retaliation of the United States is not convincing enough”. Bershidsky’s op-ed concludes:
As it stands, Putin can leave people like Hydra worried about this prospect. And if they are crushed, others can take their place. The dark web is nothing if not resilient.
What do you think of the increased use of darknet markets and the growth of Hydra? What do you think about the increased acceptance of monero providers on DNMs as well? Let us know what you think of this topic in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons
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