During the first few months of 2022, business was booming at Hydra Marketplace, the premiere Dark Web destination for cybercrime money laundering and selling narcotics and other illegal goods and services.
In fact, until its takedown in April 2022, Hydra owned a full 93% of all illicit underground economic activities.
Here’s how massive Hydra’s presence was on the Dark Web: In the days leading up to Hydra’s takedown, the average daily revenue for all underground markets was about $4.2 million. That number fell to just $447,000 after Hydra disappeared, according to new data released by Chainalysis.
Year-over-year, Dark Web marketplace revenues at the end of 2021 were about $3.1 billion, but by the end of 2022 they totaled only about $1.5 billion.
Hydra Takedown Leaves Void
Fast forward 10 months after the demise of Russian-based Hydra, and the Dark Web marketplace ecosystem is still struggling to recover. Namely, it’s been tough to replicate or replace Hydra’s money-laundering services for cybercriminals.
Out of the rubble of the demolished Hydra Marketplace, three early contenders for biggest player emerged: OMG!OMG! Market, Blacksprut, and Mega Darknet Market, according to Chainalysis’ research.
Early on, OMG was the frontrunner, peaking at just over 65% of the underground market business, but a June distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack on OMG drove users to competitors Mega Darknet Market and Blacksprut Market, according to Chainalysis.
So far, no other marketplace has been able to dominate the Dark Web market like Hydra did in its heyday.