The United States on Friday banned virtual currency mixer Blender, accused of being involved in the biggest cryptocurrency theft on record and used by North Korea, the US Treasury Department said.
The Treasury also identified new virtual currency addresses used by a North Korean hacking group often dubbed “Lazarus” to launder illegal proceeds, accusing the group of duping popular people. Steals hundreds of millions of dollars of linked cryptocurrencies. Online game Axi Infinity.
“We are taking action against illegal financial activity by the DPRK (North Korea) and will not allow state-sponsored theft and its money-laundering supporters to go unanswered,” said Brian Nelson, Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Statement.
The Treasury said this is the first time the US has banned virtual currency mixers.
Blockchain analytics and cybersecurity firm Chainalysis said North Korea has intensified efforts to launder stolen cryptocurrencies, significantly increasing the use of mixers, or software tools, that pool and scramble cryptocurrencies from thousands of addresses.
The Treasury said Blender is a virtual currency mixer that works on the bitcoin blockchain, alleging that it facilitates illegal transactions by obscuring their origin and destination.
It said the blender was used in the laundering process for North Korea’s Axi Infinity heist, alleging it processed more than $20 million in illegal proceeds.
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