One of the biggest Bitcoin exchanges in the world has been blacklisted by the US government lets people obfuscate the record usually kept by the blockchain. The service was used by North Korea to’support its malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency’.

The proceeds of the hack were estimated to be worth around $ 625 million at the time, though a few million dollars worth of funds have been recovered. The Treasury says that Lazarus is sponsored by North Korea’s government and that the country uses hackers to’generate revenue for its unlawful weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs’.

The Treasury’s press release says this is the first time it’s ever levied sanctions against a virtual currency mixer. The funds were originally in Ethereum and USDC, and blender works with Bitcoin. There are also reports that the hackers filtered some of the funds through tornado cash.

The US Treasury also alleges that blender laundered money for ransomware organizations like Conti, trickbot, and sodinokibi. Now that it’s sanctioned, it wo n’t be able to access any of its funds that were stored within the US.

Blender and other mixers work by pooling together deposited funds, then randomly distribute them. Transactions are recorded on the blockchain, and hackers will, in theory, get clean coins back.

Governments can sanction wallets that are affiliated with hacking groups. Researchers can track stolen crypto’s movement. Criminals have to make sure that’s not being traced.

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Written by Nuked

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