German Authorities Shutter $170M Bitcoin, Monero Dark Web Marketplace

German authorities have seized DarkMarket, the largest illegal dark web market in the world. 

German prosecutors in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg said they arrested the man responsible for operating DarkMarket, a 34-year old Australian national.

Bitcoin, Monero Used on Dark Web Market

Over half a million people used the marketplace to buy drugs, stolen personal data, malware, and other illicit products. The illegal platform used cryptocurrencies for its operations. 

Two leading cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin and privacy coin Monero, were accepted. During the period of its existence, the platform saw trading value in fiat exceeding $170 million. 

“A total of at least 320,000 transactions were carried out via the marketplace, with more than 4,650 Bitcoin and 12,800 Monero – two of the most common cryptocurrencies – changing hands,” said the authorities. 

According to Dark.Fail, DarkMarket used an easily available cryptomarket PHP script called Eckmar marketplace and had been the largest dark web marketplace for three months before authorities shut it down. 

The probe involved cooperation among law enforcement authorities from several countries and include Germany, Denmark, the U.S., the UK, Australia, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Moldova, all of whom worked alongside Europol.

American authorities, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and Internal Revenue Service (IRS), played a crucial part in the investigation.

In 2013, the aforementioned agencies had also successfully shuttered Silk Road, the most popular dark web marketplace at that time.

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