HYDRA is a Russian darknet market referred to as a “trading platform” and a “center of trust and arbitration.” It facilitates transactions between buyers and sellers but is not directly involved in the sale or purchase transactions they undertake. It, however, facilitates or supports dispute resolution. This darknet market focuses on recreational drugs or narcotic substances.
HYDRA market link URL:
HYDRA Account Registration Online Link:
How to Access HYDRA
HYDRA is a darknet site so it’s not something you can access using ordinary web browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Opera, or even the latest version of Microsoft Edge. You need a special browser to open it: the Tor browser. If you are not familiar with the Tor browser, it’s actually just like Firefox with some special behind-the-scenes features designed for anonymity. It sports the same familiar interface and even supports the installation of Firefox add-ons or extensions.
Using Firefox already allows you to access HYDRA and start making purchases or sales with bitcoins as the preferred currency. However, the Tor browser alone is not enough to allow you to safely and securely transat. To make sure that you remain anonymous on HYDRA, you have to use a VPN service so you will not be able to leave tracks of your darknet activities. Also, you have to make use of PGP encryption/decryption to ascertain that the messages or information you send or share will only be accessed by the intended recipients. If you are not familiar with this encryption/decryption technology, we have a comprehensive PGP guide you can use as reference.
Account Registration and Store Creation
Registering for a HYDRA account appears like a quick and easy process because of the short account registration form. The form only asks for a username, display name, password, and the CAPTCHA code. However, there’s a big chance that you will do the process more than once as your first attempt will likely get an error. This is due to the fact that the account registration form does not provide notes or guides as to the characters should be added for the username, display name, and password.
The username and display name apparently should be different (we initially entered the same username and display name). Also, the form is somewhat strict when it comes to the password. You have to have a strong password. That means something composed of letters and/or numbers and without repeated characters. It took us some time before we had a password that was accepted by the system. Passwords with number sequences appear too weak to be accepted. We created a password with 33 characters (all alphabets, an easy-to-remember sentence actually) and it was finally accepted.
You will be automatically logged in once your account has been created. Interestingly, HYDRA appears to have a very long automatic session timeout (or it does not have a session timeout?). We had to stop the review a couple of times because of bad internet connection (the computer went to sleep) but we were still able to access our account when we went back to the HYDRA website. There was no automatic logout even after several hours of PC sleep.
Store Creation: By default, all newly registered accounts on HYDRA are merely buyer accounts. They don’t have readily usable selling functions. To become a seller, you need to create a store. This is done by clicking on the Open Shop or Create Store link at the footer section of the site. Once you are in the Open Shop page, you will be asked to fill out a few fields. You will also be asked to pay for the store account. The amount will depend on how long you want you store to be up. This amount is referred to as “rent” on the site. There’s a comprehensive guide on how to set up a store on HYDRA; just find the link to this guide at the footer section.
UPDATE: We belatedly realized the purpose of having a different username and display name. Basically, this is for security purposes. The display name is the name that others see publicly. The username, on the other hand, is not disclosed to anyone so it’s basically like a password. That means only you will know your username and password (unless you share them with somebody) so it becomes significantly more difficult to hack your account.
HYDRA Interface and Functions
The site’s design is appealing and highly intuitive. There’s search bar on the topmost part of the site to make it easier to find products on the site. The menu bar (the blue bar on the top portion of the site) provides quick links to the different categories on the site, the shop directory, product catalog (essentially the same as the homepage), the site’s note-taking feature, and bitcoin exchange center.
Once you are on your profile page, you will see links and fields for monitoring your orders, adding two-factor authentication, adding/changing your avatar, changing your password, and adding your PGP key. You may also change the color scheme of your account dashboard or user interface.
HYDRA also comes with its own private messaging system, which is what you are expected to be using in communicating with other HYDRA users. It is prohibited using other messengers or communication platforms when contacting other users. You cannot access the messaging system by clicking on the inbox button, though (we can’t figure out what to do with the Inbox page). If you want to send a message to someone, you have to go to their profile page or their product/listing page and click on the message/mail button to bring out the messaging modal window.
All in all, the HYDRA market features a good site design, layout, and navigation. It shouldn’t be difficult navigating it even for those who are new to darknet markets. We also like that the site has convenient Info (site guide) and Rules page links at the footer part.
HYDRA Categories and Listings
As mentioned, HYDRA specializes in drugs or narcotic substances. To have a better glimpse of what these are, take a look at the product category table below:
- Bosko (Head/Headies/High Quality Marijuana)
- Hard Mix
Just like other “decent” darknet markets, HYDRA also has a list of prohibited items. They are as follows:
- Life-threatening weapons such as explosives and poisons
- Secret government information
- Murder services or contract killings
- Substances whose correct chemical formula are not specified
Any violation of these prohibitions will result in a permanent ban. Users are also prohibited to discuss any actions of the representatives of the site’s admin, disclose information regarding the delivery or pickup point of a transaction for any seller, flaming, flooding of irrelevant and false reviews for products, links to other trading platforms, and spamming.
The listings are shown in grid view with their respective thumbnail images, title, shop name, description, shipping origin, price, and ratings. The prices are stated in euro. You will only see the BTC equivalent of the prices when you go to the product or listing page. The shop names don’t come with their respective links. The shop links are in the listing page (on the top part). Moreover, the ratings shown alongside the product listings are apparently not for the products but for the shops selling them.
Search and Search Filters
As mentioned, HYDRA has a conspicuous search tool on its top section. This search tool allows you to find specific listings based on a keyword and sort or filter the results later on. The sorting features of this search tool aren’t that advanced but useful enough. You can filter results according to those that are considered as “Instant,” “Pre-order,” or “Trusted” listings. You can also filter results based on their shipping origin.
How to Choose a Vendor on HYDRA
Choosing a seller on HYDRA is similar to how it is done in other websites. Of course, you have to get acquainted with the vendor by going to their profile page. You can see a comprehensive listing of vendors by clicking on the Shops link on the menu bar of the HYDRA website. Use the sorting options on the top part of the site to more easily go over the different vendor options.
Obviously, you should choose a vendor with the best ratings. You also need to make sure that the vendor is regularly active on the site. Additionally, the vendor should be able to offer favorable transaction terms and should have good feedback from customers. As much as possible, prefer vendors that ship domestically. Moreover, don’t forget to send inquiries through the internal HYDRA messaging system to be sure of the transaction terms.
How to Place an Order
The process of making purchases on HYDRA is slightly different from how it is done in other darknet markets. You have to the product page so you can evaluate the information provided about the product and click on the Buy button. There is no Buy Now or Place Order button in the listing grid so you really have to go to the listing/product page so you can proceed to placing an order.
You may notice that there are more than 1 Buy Now buttons on the product page. These are obviously for the different quantities available. Be careful in clicking as you may end up placing an order for the wrong quantity. Be mindful that after clicking on the blue Buy button, you will already be entering your shipping address (be sure to use encryption) in the next page and proceed to completing the order in the page after it.
The main difference of this ordering process (from other darknet markets) is that you still have to wait for the seller to contact you before the actual order placement is initiated. Basically, the steps you would have done earlier are only aimed at contacting the seller for your intention to buy, or a “reservation” as what it is called on the site. You still have to wait for the seller to respond to this “reservation” for the order to be confirmed. It is also only after the order is confirmed by the seller that you will be asked to pay for the transaction.
How to Pay for Orders on the HYDRA Market
To fund purchases, you will have to deposit bitcoins to your HYDRA balance. You may also use QIWI to pay for your purchases. Bitcoin and QIWI are the only options for paying transactions mentioned on the informational pages of HYDRA.
Go to your bitcoin balance or funds page by clicking on your BTC balance near the upper right corner of the site. The page will show you a bitcoin deposit address to where you have to send bitcoins that can be used in funding your purchases. Two confirmations are required before your deposit is reflected on your account balance.
If you you have bitcoins left in your HYDRA account or if you decide to not push through with a purchase and you already have funds in your account, you can withdraw your bitcoins. Just find the Withdraw link and proceed to withdrawing your unused funds. It is advisable not to store bitcoins in your HYDRA account to avoid theft or loss.
There are detailed guides (with matching screenshots) on how you to pay for purchases on HYDRA presented on the site. Just go to the footer section of the site and find the appropriate links.
HYDRA Market Support
If you need to contact the HYDRA admin or support team for your questions or requests for assistance, click on the Contact link on the footer section of the site, near the lowermost right corner. You will then be taken to an online message sending form through which you can send your inquiry or request.
HYDRA will assist buyers in resolving problems regarding their orders. It’s important, however, to promptly send these complaints by contacting the support team within 24 hours after the transaction was completed.
Pros and Cons
- Neat-looking and intuitive web design
- Good security features (concealed username & password and two-factor authentication)
- Detailed guides for buyers and sellers
- No compulsory escrow system
- No compulsory option for multisig bitcoin payments
- Focuses on narcotics or recreational drugs (limited products available)
- Russian-only site language, aimed at the Russian market