Cryptocurrency service ChipMixer has been shut down by authorities in the US and Germany for its alleged involvement in laundering over $3 billion in illicit transactions since 2017. The platform was reportedly used by ransomware groups, suspected North Korean hackers, and darknet market users to obfuscate the source of stolen cryptocurrency.
Europol revealed that up to $46.3 million in crypto had been seized from ChipMixer. One North Korean cyberattack alone, against the online game Axie Infinity and Horizon Bridge, saw $700 million in stolen funds processed by the mixer, according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
Operator of ChipMixer Charged
The DOJ has charged the operator of ChipMixer, Minh Quốc Nguyễn, a 49-year-old from Vietnam, with operating an unlicensed money-transmitting business and identity theft. ChipMixer, which was created in mid-2017, was an unlicensed crypto mixer that specialized in mixing or cutting trails related to virtual currency assets. It was one of several platforms that allegedly allowed criminals to launder illicit funds by obscuring the source of stolen cryptocurrency.
Sanctions Imposed on Other Mixers
In May 2022, virtual currency mixer Blender.io was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department for its alleged support of North Korea’s money-laundering operations. Tornado Cash was also sanctioned in August of the same year for allegedly laundering virtual currency worth $7 billion. These moves by authorities signal a growing crackdown on cryptocurrency mixers and their involvement in illicit activities.