In December 2019, the Hydra crew announced an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to gather funds for launching several new projects. The most important is Eternos, which is a new DNM with global reach, and AspaNET, which would be an alternative to TOR. In only 5 days, Hydra wanted to sell 1,470,000 tokens, with each token priced at $100. After the Eternos launch owners of at least 101 tokens would get 0.00333333% of the monthly profit generated by the marketplace for every hundred tokens held in a wallet. Initially all of the new projects would start operating in September 2020. Obviously, taking part in this ICO was openly financing organized crime activity.
At first sight, Eternos is the core project here. For now, Hydra is a DNM dedicated to the CIS region (Azerbaijan, Belarus, Ukraine, Russia, etc.) and is available only in the Russian language. Eternos will be accessible in English and possibly in other popular languages. Their purpose is to create a large, stable, and secure DNM that will be an alternative for Western DNMs. The Hydra crew promises that the new DNM will be based on Hydra, but it will be enriched with many features: encrypted messages, a built-in cryptocurrency mixer, and as mentioned before, a delivery system based on the drug caches known as закладка. The last one could be the most innovative for western countries and the most troublesome in introduction. Eternos will have an international legal reference system which helps to assess risk in many states in conjunction with various illicit merchandises. A part of it will have services that help with logistics, advertising and data analysis.
The second core project, and maybe even more important than Eternos, is the new darknet–- AspaNET. The Hydra crew is probably powerful and rich enough to create their own darknet, as even smaller hacker organizations managed to do so. Eternos will be available on AspaNET, but it is uncertain if it will also be available on other darknets (like TOR and I2P) or if it will be an AspaNET exclusive. For trouble-free operations it should have infrastructure that will handle Eternos and other new projects. As the Hydra crew will be its operator, its maintenance budget will be coming from criminal activity. If Russian authorities have something to do with it, they would have the possibility of extending their surveillance with this network. So it is possible that it will be another international darknet, but probably made and controlled in cooperation with the Russian intelligence services. According to the announcement, AspaNET can bypass Internet censorship and filtering made by the Chinese Golden Shield Project and the Russian Sovereign Internet. They said also that this new darknet solves many known TOR problems and it has been successfully tested in China and Turkey. Right now there are almost no technical details about it, so it is hard to say more.
There will also be other projects launched that will work within AspaNET. Whisper will be a messenger that uses PGP and VPN to secure anonymity for users. ChangePoint will be a new cryptocurrency exchange. This is probably the first time where one group attempts to create such a complex service offering on the darknet. Criminals who would use only their services, would be concentrating their info in one place and sending it exclusively through their services. It would require a great deal of trust.
There are several unexpected things about the new projects announcement and how the community has reacted to it. There was little discussion about it on Russian forums. On some cybercriminal forums, the Hydra related topics were closed by moderators. An official Hydra representative said that the official ICO announcement is everything Hydra admins have to say at that moment. On most English language forums there was almost no discussion about it until May 2020, when the most important English website about darknet news wrote about these new projects---a full 6 months after the ICO. Another thing is that the Hydra announcement mentioned before has a provocative tone. They speak directly that they are aggressive, eager to fight with any adversaries that want to disturb their business and they are ready for global expansion in the darknet Market sector.