• Chainalysis’s blockchain data showed that after Hydra was shut down, its vendors quickly switched to another marketplace – OMG!OMG!.
• Hydra used to be the most successful platform for drugs and other illicit goods and services.
• Competitors such as OMG!OMG!, Blacksprut and Mega Darknet Market have been able to pick up the slack since Hydra’s collapse.
The infamous darknet market Hydra was shut down last year, but competitors quickly occupied its place according to blockchain analytics firm Chainalysis. After Hydra was shut down, the wallets that were previously interacting with Hydra started transacting with OMG!OMG!, a new marketplace, with more than half of OMG!OMG!’s revenue coming from former Hydra clients – indicating that the operators of Hydro may have had a hand in running it too.
Before being taken offline, Hydra had been the most successful market for drugs, counterfeit documents, money laundering and other illegal goods and services in the world; mostly operating in Russia and neighboring countries. The platform offered crypto cash-out services and even announced an initial coin offering (ICO) of its own token in 2019 which unfortunately never happened due to U.S sanctions imposed on their crypto wallets in April 2022.
Following this shutdown competitors emerged including OMG!OMG!, Blacksprut and Mega Darknet Market all of whom used similar deposit addresses at a “high-risk exchange with a heavy presence in Russia” according to Chainalsysis. Blockchain intelligence firm TRM Labs reported that since Hydras collapse these competitors have received $820 million worth of crypto combined over 8 months.
Drug Delivery System
Both Hydro and OMG!OMG! shared a similar method for drug delivery whereby buyers would receive geographic coordinates for packages hidden in parks or other locations however no further information is known on whether this system remains active post-Hydro closure or not.
After Hydras closure it appears as though competitors were quick to take up any lost space however it remains unclear how much influence former Hydro operators are having over these new markets or whether their drug delivery system is still being utilised by these new platforms today.