How Much Darknet Markets Made In 2022: Hydra’s Impact

Darknet Market Revenue 2023
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For the first time in seven years, Darknet Markets took a cut in their yearly revenue. In 2022, Darknet Market’s revenues fell by 50%, and post-Hydra migration played a major role. Here’s what darknet markets looked like after multiple fraud shops and darknet markets collapsed.

Hydra’s Collapse Impacts The Darknet

As you may be aware, the Russian-based “Hydra Market” used to be the largest darknet market by a milestone. With consistent growth, the marketplace accounted for 90% of all darknet market revenue in 2020 and 2021. Their dominance collapsed in April 2022, as US and German law enforcement managed to seize their servers.

Despite the fact that Law Enforcement took down the Hydra empire in the first quarter of 2022, Hydra Markets revenue still accounts for a near majority of darknet revenue. According to the Chainalysis report, the impact of Hydra’s removal from the darknet was a vital success, as daily revenue hasn’t returned to a similar level since.

This has a lot to do with the fact that Hydra offers services of all kinds. In addition to playing the largest online drug marketplace with thousands of available vendors, users had access to fraud shops and more. The market was a primary place for laundering large amounts of illicit/stolen Bitcoin.

Top 25 Darknet Markets 2022
Top 25 Darknet Markets 2022

We’ve spoken about how Darknet Markets in Russia took Hydra’s shake-down as an opportunity to grab customers, but Chainalysis’s recent report shows exactly how much, and why. Which we’ll get into in a moment.

Darknet Market Revenue 2022

Darknet Revenue 2020 2022
Darknet Revenue 2020 2022

Although a slight drawback on darknet activity was imminent post-pandemic. A 48% revenue cut proves more was at play.

The average daily revenue for all markets prior to Hydra’s closure sat at about $4.2 Million a day. After their seizure, that dropped to an average of $447,000. A near 90% on daily sales. Prompting fear in the darknet community. 

Although the daily darknet revenue has increased, 2022 closed off with a $1.5 Billion revenue share as opposed to 2021’s record high of $3.1 Billion. This may seem like a major setback, but in 2022s, revenue is still greater than darknet markets in 2019s. 

The Darknet Giants In 2023

If we go according to the 2022 report, the newest darknet market sitting on the throne is Russia’s Mega Darknet Market.

  1. Mega Darknet Market: estimated $250 million
  2. Blacksprut Market: estimated $220 million
  3. OMG!OMG! Market: estimated $130 million
  4. ASAP! Market: estimated $63 million
  5. MG55 Market: estimated $60 million

You may notice that three of the top five markets in 2022 are Russian markets. Each market gained received a massive influx of customers following Hydra’s closure. On-chain data reveals that these markets took to extreme efforts to attract former Hydra users and vendors.

ASAP market was a clear winner as the largest English and international-oriented darknet market. We named ASAP market the best darknet market due to their incredible features and market management. It’s clear the larger darknet community agrees with us. But it is interesting to see that Chainalysis wasn’t able to track AlphaBays revenue. Which is why they’re missing from the above charts. 

Fraud Shops Fall.

Fraud Shops On the Darknet Decline
Fraud Shops On the Darknet Decline

On-chain data also shows that Fraud shops took the greater hits in 2022. In addition to Hydra’s takedown, law enforcement seized almost all of the top fraud shops. With just two major fraud shops left: Brian Dumps and UniCC. 

According to the report, “revenue fell almost to zero in October, though it’s unclear exactly why.” Even though darknet markets have recovered for the most part, fraud shops are in a consistent decline leading into 2023. 

The Battle For Hydra Clients

Market Dominance in 2022 post hydra
Market Dominance in 2022 post hydra

Leading up to Hydra’s empire collapse, the marketplace captured an average of 93% of all economic value with the darknet ecosystem. With so many available services through the market, its demise opened the perfect opportunity for darknet websites to capture. 

Although a few hundred phishing websites sprung up instantly, eight markets, in particular, gained a massive audience due to Hydra’s removal and alternative markets leaving in an exit scam (such as Dark0de and World Market.)

Right after Hydra’s collapse, OMG!OMG! Seemed to have won over the Russian hearts. In the months of April and May, OMG!OMG! Captured more than 50% of the total darknet market revenue with a peak of 65.2%. However, by the end of June, OMG! Lost the favor of the community when they suffered from a massive DDoS attack. The website went down for a few weeks giving way for Mega Darknet Market and Blacksprut to shine as the best of the best. 

In an unfortunate event for Blacksprut, the darknet market went through a data breach causing their popularity to decline. The nature of the darknet means any sort of hack causes a loss of trust from the customers.


There is an interesting correlation between fewer sales on the darknet over December, which could have something to do with Dread being offline since November 30th, though this is more speculation than anything. 

Overall, Chainalysis created a lengthy report that suggest Hydra’s fall created a ripple effect the darknet market didn’t know how to manage. There is a reason we always suggest keeping away from the largest darknet markets. Historically, they’re the most likely to Exit Scam, and don’t provide the best customer support.