According to the U.S. Treasury, the DPRK uses the service “to support its malicious activities in cyberspace and launder stolen virtual currency.”
On Friday the United States imposed sanctions against the online service Blender.io, the so-called bitcoin mixer, which allows you to conduct various transactions with cryptocurrency on an anonymous basis. This is stated in a distributed written statement of the American Ministry of Finance.
According to the agency, the service is used by the DPRK “to support its malicious activities in cyberspace and launder stolen virtual currency.” “On March 23, 2022, the hacker group Lazarus Group, sponsored by the DPRK authorities, carried out the largest theft of virtual currency to date in the amount of almost $620 million from a blockchain project related to the online video game Axie Infinity. Blender was used to process more than $20.5 million of illegal income,” the document says. The U.S. authorities believe that the DPRK “resorts to illegal activities, including cyber-looting of cryptocurrency exchanges and financial institutions, in order to generate income for its illegal programs to develop weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles.”
“Today, for the first time in history, the Ministry of Finance is imposing sanctions on a virtual currency mixer,” said U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Brian E. Nelson, who oversees financial intelligence and the fight against terrorist financing. – Virtual currency mixers that help to carry out illegal transactions pose a threat to the interests of U.S. national security. We are taking measures against the illegal financial activities of the DPRK and will not allow state-sponsored robberies and its money laundering accomplices to go unanswered.” The Ministry of Finance claims that Blender.io was used for money laundering by “Russian-linked groups using ransomware viruses.”
The developers of the Internet platform created in 2017, in order to preserve the confidentiality of customers, abandoned any kind of identifiers, storing data about users and their transactions. The service is designed so that after performing operations, all records about them are deleted. The so-called bitcoin mixers accept cryptocurrency from users, “crush” and “mix” coins in any order; as a result, customers receive an amount consisting of shares previously owned by other users. Due to this, the service provides anonymity.