Worlds largest darknet marketplace taken down by German police

Yolanda Curtis
January 13, 2021

Europol, which coordinated the policing operation, said the website had nearly 500,000 users including 2,400 sellers.

More that 20 servers were seized in Moldova and Ukraine.

According to reports, German authorities have revealed they took down the "world's largest" DarkNet marketplace, arresting an Australian operator who allegedly used the marketplace to sell stolen credit card data, drugs, and other illegal products.

In total, at least 320,000 transactions were carried out on the marketplace and more than 4,650 Bitcoin and 12,800 Monero, two of the most popular cryptocurrencies, were moved.

Law Enforcement knowing figures at that detail on the same day of the arrest indicates they may have analyzed the servers long before the arrest, possibly hacked the market in some way, or had an undercover staff member able to see counts in DarkMarket's support interface.

At the current price, BTC and XMR amounts correspond to a sum of over $170 million.

"The stored data will give investigators new leaders to further investigate moderators, sellers and buyers", Europol said in a statement Tuesday. The alleged operator faced a judge and has been put in pre-trial detention.

The investigation was led by local German investigators with the participation of foreign authorities, including the FBI and Europol.

The DarkMarket was the second platform operating under that name, since the original site was shut down in 2008 by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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

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.

German police raided the CyberBunker's headquarters in September 2019 in Traben-Trarbach, a small town close to the Luxembourg border.

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