The banned crypto money laundering machine is still processing tens of millions

In August last year, yesar graduated from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the US Treasury Department to restrict the crypto mixer Tornado Cash. Since then, using the service provider has been illegal. Nevertheless, the service will be relatively widespread in 2023. According to blockchain analytics service CertiK, the protocol has processed $108 million from criminals this year.

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Tornado Cash is still in use

Data from CertiK shows that Tornado Cash has also been used for malicious purposes this year. In at least 12 transactions, the money came from exploits of crypto protocols and services in 2023.

Additionally, about $300 worth of stolen cryptocurrencies ended up in Bitcoin (BTC), some of which ended up back at various crypto privacy services. Tornado Cash isn’t the only mixer in the industry. According to CertiK, the Sinbad mixer has also been used by criminals, including hackers from the North Korean Lazarus group.

A third of the losses in the top 50 exploits landed on the Bitcoin network. A lot more money used to end up in Tornado Cash, but now criminals seem to have stopped doing that.

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Crypto mixers are under fire due to sanctions

According to the research, the declining use of mixers is due to the sanctions imposed on Tornado Cash and the enormous attention it received. After the service became illegal for Americans to use last year, many other governments followed suit.

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For example, Dutch police arrested Tornado Cash developer Alexey Pertsev for aiding and abetting money laundering. After all, that’s exactly what the protocol is used for. According to CertiK, larger criminals also used Tornado Cash to launder amounts of more than $50 million in 2023.

The service could continue to be used even after the strict sanctions. The service uses smart contracts and is therefore not just a company where you can take the servers offline.

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