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US sanctions Blender.io for helping North Korea launder crypto

The US Treasury sanctions Blender.io cutting it off from the financial system of the country. This happened as the mixer service was used by North Korea to launder cryptocurrencies. The crypto was stolen from Axie Infinity and was worth nearly $20.5 million. North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group allegedly used it to launder the money and cut off their tracks on the public ledger.

North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group

The $20.5 million is only a fraction of the total stole funds that are associated with the group. There has been recently an exploit where they were able to get their hands on crypto worth more than $600 million. Reports suggest that the hacking group is funded by North Korea’s government and is used to generate revenue to develop weapons and missiles. So, it is evident why the US Treasury took such a step very fast.

US sanctions Blender.io for helping North korea launder crypto

Image Source: The Times Hub

This is also the first time they are sanctioning a cryptocurrency mixer, and while we might think this could solve the laundering problems, it won’t. Blender.io is not the only mixing application out there, and hackers can surely use something else to cover their tracks. For example, reports suggest the North Korean hackers also used Tornado cash to filter some funds and make it difficult to track the transactions.

The main reason for sanctioning Blender.io is the suspicion that they helped the hackers knowingly. The mixer service is also suspected to be associated with many ransomware organizations like Conti, Trickbot, and more. But now, it won’t be able to do any transaction in the US and with US companies.

The mixer service

There is a general idea that crypto is not trackable and is private. However, that is not the case due to the presence of a public ledger. So, when hackers steal funds, they need to ensure that the funds are not being tracked when they use them or convert them to fiat in the real world. This is done using a cryptocurrency mixer service that pools the deposited funds and hides the origin of the money. In theory, it should allow hackers to prevent further tracking, but authorities might still be able to track them.

What are your thoughts as the US sanctions Blender.io for helping North Korea sanction crypto? And do you think they did it knowingly? Let us know in the comments below. Also, if you found our content informative, do like and share it with your friends.

Also Read: Gucci plans to start accepting Bitcoin at select stores.



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