Popular darknet marketplace DarkMarket, which hosted an estimated half million users, was shut down by German police authorities in a raid conducted over the weekend.
Announcements from prosecutors in the cities of Koblenz and Oldenburg indicated that the operator of the marketplace was headquartered somewhere near the border between Germany and Denmark. The marketplace’s server was officially turned off yesterday.
“Police in the northern city of Oldenburg ‘were able to arrest the alleged operator of the suspected world’s largest illegal marketplace on the darknet, the DarkMarket, at the weekend,’ prosecutors said in a statement,” according to Barron’s.
The illegal marketplace for drugs, SIM cards, stolen and fake credit card data, counterfeit money and more reportedly ramped up in usage this past year as many dealers had to take their businesses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With just a few clicks of a button, customers could buy what they pleased from any of the 2,400-plus vendors on the marketplace by paying with the censorship-resistant currency bitcoin. There was a total of 4,650 BTC and 12,800 of the shitcoin XMR involved in over 320,000 transactions facilitated by the marketplace, according to prosecutors.
Darknet marketplaces have long been active use cases for bitcoin. Bitcoin’s censorship-resistant qualities assure that users can rely on it to buy goods on the black market, regardless of third-party restrictions or global borders. It should be noted, however, that the use of bitcoin is pseudonymous, not completely anonymous.