US bans digital currency mixer firm Tornado Cash

US bans digital currency mixer firm Tornado Cash

US bans virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash

The United States on Monday banned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, alleging it helped hackers, including North Korea, siphon proceeds from their cybercrimes.

A cryptocurrency mixer, also known as a cryptocurrency tumbler service, is a company that combines various cryptocurrency money – including potentially traceable or “tainted” money – to obscure the trail back to the original source of funds. to do.

Tornado Cash, one of the biggest mixers identified by the Treasury as problematic, has reportedly laundered more than $7 billion of virtual currency since it was created in 2019, a senior Treasury Department official said. is of.

Monday’s move freezes any US assets of Mixer and generally prevents Americans from dealing with it.

The Lazarus Group, a well-known North Korean government-backed hacking group that has conducted multiple data breaches, politically and sometimes financially motivated, laundered at least $455 million through Tornado Cash, the Treasury said. has done.

The Lazarus Group is already under US sanctions. The group has historically held a number of significant data breaches, including an intrusion into Sony Pictures in late 2014.

US and South Korean officials say North Korea controls thousands of hackers who steal money, including cryptocurrency, to finance its weapons programs.

Pyongyang has denied the allegations.

Tornado Cache and the North Korean mission at the United Nations in New York did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The Treasury said Tornado Cash was also used to rob nearly $100 million from a hack at virtual currency firm Harmony in June and as recently as last week in the theft of a virtual currency technology company Nomad was.

Despite prior requests to change Tornado Cash, criminal activity continued, the Treasury official said, leading to the decision to designate Mixer.

In May, the US Treasury also targeted virtual currency mixer Blender, first banning Mixer – a software tool that pools and scrambles cryptocurrencies from thousands of addresses.

Hacks have plagued crypto platforms for a long time. And experts say Tornado Cash may have played a role in these crimes.

“Tornado is a popular and important tool for cybercriminals and state-backed hacking groups,” said Dr. Tom Robinson, cofounder of cryptocurrency analytics firm Elliptic. “Overall, Elliptic’s analysis shows that at least $1.3 billion in proceeds of crime such as ransomware, hacks and fraud has been laundered through Tornado Cash.”


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