US Treasury sanctions first crypto mixer – regulation of Bitcoin news

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued its first sanctions for the crypto mixer. The Lazarus Group used the interference service to process the illegal earnings of $ 620 million in the crypto robbery of the online game Axie Infinity, the Ministry of Finance announced.

The Ministry of Finance is sanctioning Crypto Mixer

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced on Friday that it has sanctioned the Blender.io crypto mixer. According to OFAC, this interference service is used by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) “to support its malicious cyber activities and money laundering of stolen virtual currency”.

The statement explains that on March 23, Lazarus Group, a cyber hacker group sponsored by the DNRK state, carried out the largest cryptocurrency robbery to date, worth nearly $ 620 million, of a blockchain project related to the online game Axie Infinity. OFAC added:

The blender was used to process over $ 20.5 million in illicit earnings.

OFAC sanctioned the Lazarus Group on September 13, 2019 and “identified it as an agency, instrument or controlled entity of the DNRK government,” the announcement added. The label is based on “the group’s attitude towards the General Intelligence Office designated by the United States and the United Nations, the DNR’s main intelligence organization.”

Deputy Finance Minister for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson commented:

Today, for the first time ever, the Ministry of Finance is sanctioning a virtual currency mixer.

An investigation by OFAC also revealed that Blender enabled money laundering by groups of malicious ransomware linked to Russia, including Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, Sodinokibi and Gandcrab.

The US Treasury Department clarified:

Although most virtual currency activities are allowed, they can be used for illegal activities, including avoiding sanctions, through mixers, peer-to-peer exchangers, darknet markets, and money changers.

“This includes enabling robberies, ransomware schemes and other cybercrime,” Trezor said.

The statement said that as a result of the sanctions, all assets and interests owned by Blender.io, in the U.S. or owned or controlled by U.S. individuals, have been blocked and must be reported to OFAC. Moreover, all entities that are 50% owned or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked, and all transactions of persons from the U.S. or within the U.S. involving certain or blocked persons are prohibited.

What do you think of OFAC sanctioning the crypto mixer? Let us know in the comments section below.

Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian economics, Kevin discovered Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in the security of Bitcoin, open source systems, network effects and the crossroads between economics and cryptography.

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