Germany Closes World’s Biggest Darknet Market Using Bitcoin and Monero

Germany Closes World’s Biggest Darknet Market Using Bitcoin and Monero

Value of the bitcoin and monero virtual currencies traded on DarkMarket totaled 140 million euros ($170 million euros).

Prosecutors noted that DarkMarket had nearly 500,000 users and over 2,400 vendors at the time of the shutdown.

The takedown of DarkMarket also saw law enforcement seizing the criminal infrastructure, including more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine, that was used to conduct the operations.

German authorities have shut down the world's largest darknet marketplace in a joint operation supported by Europol, a law enforcement agency of the European Union. They have since been shutdown, but not before investigators collected all the data they contained for further investigation, with a particular focus being placed on the moderators who worked for the marketplace.

The prosecutors said that the site was used to sell drugs, stolen credit card data, and malware around the world.

More than 500,000 people used Dark Market to access about 2,400 dealers
More than 500,000 people used Dark Market to access about 2,400 dealers

The prime suspect was brought before a judge but declined to speak. In 2019, Koblenz prosecurots announced the discovery of darknet servers hosted from a former North Atlantic Treaty Organisation bunker in a sleepy German town.

United States agencies like the FBI, DEA narcotics law enforcement division and IRS tax authority all contributed to the investigation, along with police from Australia, Britain, Denmark, Switzerland, Ukraine and Moldova, with Europol playing a "coordinating role". Eight defendants - four Dutchmen, three Germans and one Bulgarian - stood trial beginning in October for allegedly aiding and abetting 249,000 transactions involving drugs, money laundering, stolen information and pornographic images of children.

The EU narcotics agency sounded the alarm in September that the pandemic was failing to disrupt drug smugglers and dealers, as users and sellers were using the web for their supply.

The secret "darknet" network includes websites that can be accessed only with specific software or authorisations, ensuring anonymity for users.

Oldenburg police said the raid took place over the weekend.

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