Highlighting the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s continued focus on cybercrime and digital assets, OFAC sanctioned the world’s largest and most prominent darknet market, Hydra Market (Hydra), along with Garantex, a cryptocurrency exchange that executed over $100 million in cryptocurrency transactions associated with darknets, including $2.6 million from Hydra.
The sanctions resulted from an international effort to disrupt the proliferation of cybercrime services, drugs, and other illegal offerings facilitated by these Russia-based organizations. Darknets like Hydra are internet-based networks that are accessed via special software designed to obscure individuals’ identity and internet activity, and almost exclusively use virtual currency as payment. In addition, OFAC added over 100 virtual currency addresses associated with Hydra’s operations to the SDN List. OFAC is one of the few global regulators that sanctions specific cryptocurrency wallet addresses.