Shorter Reads

US sanctions imposed against “crypto mixer”

Earlier this month, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) set a new precedent by sanctioning a virtual currency mixer for the first time.

1 minute read

Published 20 May 2022

Authors

Share

Key information

  • Specialisms
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Services
  • Banking & financial disputes

OFAC deemed Bitcoin mixer “Blender.io” to have been culpable in assisting a North Korea backed heist, which laundered over $20.5million in illicit funds.

OFAC said that Blender.io, which operates on the Bitcoin blockchain, facilitated illicit transactions by obscuring their origin, destination and counterparties. Since its creation five years ago, it has facilitated the transfer of over $500million worth of Bitcoin.

The Lazarus Group, believed to be a North Korean cybercrime ring, used Blender.io to launder the illicit proceeds of a recent large-scale hack against Axie Infinity (a non-fungible token-based online game).

This sanction highlights how US agencies have taken a stricter approach to scrutinising the flow of funds across digital assets for signs of illicit activity. An OFAC spokesperson said, “The virtual currency mixers that assist criminals are a threat to the US national security interests.”

OFAC’s press release is available here.

Message us on WhatsApp

Related latest updates
PREV NEXT

Related content

Arrow Back to Insights

Shorter Reads

US sanctions imposed against “crypto mixer”

Earlier this month, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Controls (OFAC) set a new precedent by sanctioning a virtual currency mixer for the first time.

Published 20 May 2022

Associated sectors / services

Authors

OFAC deemed Bitcoin mixer “Blender.io” to have been culpable in assisting a North Korea backed heist, which laundered over $20.5million in illicit funds.

OFAC said that Blender.io, which operates on the Bitcoin blockchain, facilitated illicit transactions by obscuring their origin, destination and counterparties. Since its creation five years ago, it has facilitated the transfer of over $500million worth of Bitcoin.

The Lazarus Group, believed to be a North Korean cybercrime ring, used Blender.io to launder the illicit proceeds of a recent large-scale hack against Axie Infinity (a non-fungible token-based online game).

This sanction highlights how US agencies have taken a stricter approach to scrutinising the flow of funds across digital assets for signs of illicit activity. An OFAC spokesperson said, “The virtual currency mixers that assist criminals are a threat to the US national security interests.”

OFAC’s press release is available here.

Associated sectors / services

Authors

Need some more information? Make an enquiry below.

    Subscribe

    Please add your details and your areas of interest below

    Specialist sectors:

    Legal services:

    Other information:

    Jurisdictions of interest to you (other than UK):

    Article contributor

    Enjoy reading our articles? why not subscribe to notifications so you’ll never miss one?

    Subscribe to our articles

    Message us on WhatsApp (calling not available)

    Please note that Collyer Bristow provides this service during office hours for general information and enquiries only and that no legal or other professional advice will be provided over the WhatsApp platform. Please also note that if you choose to use this platform your personal data is likely to be processed outside the UK and EEA, including in the US. Appropriate legal or other professional opinion should be taken before taking or omitting to take any action in respect of any specific problem. Collyer Bristow LLP accepts no liability for any loss or damage which may arise from reliance on information provided. All information will be deleted immediately upon completion of a conversation.

    I accept Close

    Close
    Scroll up
    ExpandNeed some help?Toggle

    Get in touch

    Get in touch using our form below.