Hydra Market accounted for 93% of all illegal underground economic activity. Before the closure of the site, the average daily income of all underground markets was about $4.2 million, and after the closure of the marketplace, according to Chainalysis, this figure fell to $447 thousand. If in 2021 the revenue of the DarkWeb market was about $3.1 billion, then in 2022 the revenue of the darknet decreased to $1.5 billion.
10 months after the shutdown of Hydra, dark web trading still hasn't recovered. According to Chainalysis, there are three new candidates for the largest online marketplace: OMG!OMG! Market, Blacksprut and Mega Darknet Market.
OMG!OMG! Market first took the lead, reaching over 65% market share, but after a DDoS attack in June, its position weakened, and customers began to move to competitors - Mega Darknet Market and Blacksprut Market. Currently, there is no clear leader among online dark web marketplaces.
According to the study, the main way to attract former Hydra clients to underground marketplaces is to provide services for the laundering of crypto-currency and fiat money. Chainalysis reports that Mega Darknet, Blacksprut, and OMG have started offering cryptocurrency money laundering services to attract former Hydra users. Analysts also found evidence of collaboration between these platforms.
According to Eric Jardine, who is the head of cybercrime research at Chainalysis, marketplaces are turning into financial service providers for cybercriminals. According to Karl Steinkamp of the cybersecurity consulting firm Coalfire, the presence of such services encourages attackers to commit new cybercrimes related to digital assets.
In January, it became known that Solaris, a large dark web marketplace specializing in illicit substances, had been “taken over” by a smaller competitor called Kraken. Its representatives claim to have hacked the Solaris website and databases on January 13, 2023.