U.S. Treasury Bans Mixer Blender IO
The Treasury Department has sanctioned Bitcoin mixer Blender.io for posing a “serious danger” to national security in the United States. “Failed” to execute Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Terrorism rules, according to a news statement.
It’s alleged that state-sponsored bad actors are using the mixer to launder money from criminal operations. Blender.io was allegedly used by the Lazarus Group to assault Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge, according to the federal agency.
Bitconist said that this was one of the greatest cyberattacks in the crypto sector. Over $600 million was stolen from the Bridge nodes that were compromised by the attackers.
According to the announcement, Blender.io received $20.5 million of the stolen money. To escape “strong” sanctions imposed by the United Nations and other nations, the U.S. Treasury alleges North Korea has been using cybercrime. Weapons of mass destruction are purportedly being funded by these monies.
On the penalties, Brian Nelson, the Treasury’s Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, said:
The national security of the United States is jeopardised by the use of virtual currency mixers to facilitate illegal activities. If the DPRK’s state-sponsored theft and money-laundering facilitators continue unpunished, we will do our best to do our part.
Executive Order 13694 has “designated” the Bitcoin mixer. Consequently, the Treasury argues that it has “assisted, promoted,” or supported in any way a “threat” to the United States’ national security, foreign policy, or financial stability.
Crypto businesses are also reminded of their purported obligation to prevent anybody or anything from “undermining U.S. foreign policy and national security interests,” according to the Treasury Department’s latest statement on the matter.
After More Crypto Entities Linked to Malicious Actors, the US Treasury is investigating
U.S. Treasury officials said that they are investigating if there are any additional compromised crypto wallet addresses associated with Axie Infinity or the Lazarus Group. On September 13, 2019, the U.S. Treasury Department designated this organisation as a North Korean-controlled business.
In the United States, Blender.io has been banned from any property or interest. Additionally, the government agency stated:
All transactions involving property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked people by U.S. persons or inside (or transiting) the United States are banned unless approved by an OFAC general or particular licence or exempt.
The Treasury Department confirmed that Blender is a service utilised by Bitcoin users who want to improve their on-chain anonymity. However, according to the agency, it is “frequently exploited by criminal actors”.
It’s been claimed by the Treasury that Blender.io has been used to launder money from other state-backed criminal actors including Trickbot and Conti.