September 18, 2022
Tornado Cash, YT Trending - Latest Technology News

Tornado Cash, a decentralized cryptocurrency mixer service used to launder more than $7 billion since its founding in 2019, was sanctioned today by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).

The crypto mixer was also used by the North Korean-backed APT Lazarus Group to launder approximately $455 million stolen in the largest known cryptocurrency heist.

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Tornado Cash, YT Trending - Latest Technology News

This was a portion of the total bounty collected as a result of the attack, as Lazarus stole $620 million in Ethereum after hacking Axie Infinity’s Ronin network bridge in April.

Tornado Cash was also used to launder more than $96 million following the June Harmony Bridge hack (out of a total of $100 million stolen) and at least $7.8 million from the August Nomad Heist (out of a total of $150 million stolen).

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This crypto mixer was also used to make it more difficult to trace stolen funds following hacks of blockchain music platform Audius, the Beanstalk DeFi platform, the decentralised cryptocurrency exchange Uniswap, and the Arbix Finance exit scam.

“Today, Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash, a crypto currency mixer that laundered money the proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed against victims in the United States,” said Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson.

“Despite public assurances to the contrary, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to prevent it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis, as well as basic risk mitigation measures.”

Treasury is not the first to sanction a crypto mixer.

In May, the US Treasury sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io, a service used by the Lazarus hacking group to launder cryptocurrency stolen after hacking the Ronin bridge.

In addition, Larry Dean Harmon, the founder and operator of the Helix and Coin Ninja mixer services, received the first-ever civil money penalty from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in October 2020 for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and its implementing regulations.

FinCEN revealed at the time that the most significant volume of cryptocurrency laundered using the Helix tumbler came from dark web illegal markets, including AlphaBay, Dream Mark, Agora Market, Nucleus, and several others.

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