The site logs included transfers of 4,650 Bitcoin (BTC) and 12,800 Monero (XMR). As it seems that over 500,000 users were taking advantage of the privacy privileges of theses two cryptos to buy and sell drugs online as well as stolen items and counterfeit money, according to the Europol report.
One man from Australia was apprehended at the German-Danish border and is believed to be the operator of DarkMarket.
In addition to the arrest, “[t]he investigation, which was led by the cybercrime unit of the Koblenz Public Prosecutor’s Office, allowed officers to locate and close the marketplace, switch off the servers and seize the criminal infrastructure – more than 20 servers in Moldova and Ukraine supported by the German Federal Criminal Police office (BKA). The stored data will give investigators new leads to further investigate moderators, sellers, and buyers.
Bitcoin and Monero, especially, were used to transfer and store coins in private wallets, making tracing the location and identity of the users difficult. However, the anonymity of crypto wasn’t good enough to keep them hidden from authorities.
According to one DarkNet journalist on Twitter, the reason the DarkMarket was caught was due to the admin’s inexperience with securing their server.
An IP leak potentially led German law enforcement to DarkMarket. Darknet admins that use the Eckmar marketplace script are often not experts at securing servers. https://t.co/v7gO67YYlT
— dark.fail (@DarkDotFail) January 13, 2021