German Police Shut Down Darknet Marketplace That Traded Bitcoin
The symbols for Bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrency sit displayed on a screen during the Crypto Investor Show in London, U.K. (Photographer: Mary Turner/Bloomberg)

German Police Shut Down Darknet Marketplace That Traded Bitcoin

German police took down what they believe was the world’s largest illegal “Darknet” marketplace, shuttering a platform that about half a million people used to trade drugs and crypto currencies including Bitcoin.

Police arrested a 34-year-old Australian national near the Danish border who was alleged to have operated the site called DarkMarket, prosecutors in the western German city of Koblenz said Tuesday. Authorities also confiscated more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine.

DarkMarket facilitated at least 320,000 transactions -- including 4,650 for Bitcoin and 12,800 for Monero, another crypto currency -- valued at more than 140 million euros ($170 million), prosecutors said. The platform was used mainly to sell drugs, but vendors also offered counterfeit money, stolen and fraudulent credit card information, anonymous SIM cards and malware.

Authorities from around the world, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and police from countries including the U.K., Denmark and Ukraine contributed to the investigation, with the EU’s Europol coordinating.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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