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Business News/ Markets / Cryptocurrency/  US shuts down crypto service ChipMixer tied to $3 billion in transactions
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US shuts down crypto service ChipMixer tied to $3 billion in transactions

Ransomware groups, suspected North Korean hackers, dark net market users and vendors who bought and sold stolen financial information used ChipMixer, which processed more than $3 billion in illicit transactions, according to the US Justice Department

In August 2022, cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. (AFP)Premium
In August 2022, cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. (AFP)

US and German law enforcement agencies have shuttered ChipMixer, a cryptocurrency service allegedy used to launder billions of dollars in illicit proceeds, authorities said Wednesday.

Ransomware groups, suspected North Korean hackers, dark net market users and vendors who bought and sold stolen financial information used the site, which processed more than $3 billion in illicit transactions, according to the US Justice Department. Bitcoin used by a Russian military intelligence unit to buy hacking tools also flowed through the site, according to the Justice Department. 

German police seized $46 million in cryptocurrency as part of the operation as well as servers used to run the site, according to law enforcement. 

“ChipMixer facilitated the laundering of cryptocurrency, specifically Bitcoin, on a vast international scale, abetting nefarious actors and criminals of all kinds in evading detection," US Attorney Jacqueline C. Romero, of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, said in a statement.

The service allegedly allowed criminals to obfuscate the source of stolen cryptocurrency.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia charged Minh Quốc Nguyễn, 49, of Vietnam, with money laundering in connection to the operation of ChipMixer. The Hanoi resident is accused of identity theft and openly advertising means of subverting anti-money laundering controls. 

Nguyễn isn’t in law enforcement custody, a Justice Department spokesperson said. Bloomberg couldn’t couldn’t locate a Nguyễn representative for comment.

The ChipMixer website currently displays an image stating that it has been seized by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. That site includes a link “to report more information about ChipMixer and its operators." 

So-called mixing services have become a focus of authorities around the world. In August 2022, cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash was sanctioned by the US Treasury Department. Earlier that year, Blender.io was also hit with sanctions. 

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Published: 16 Mar 2023, 12:50 AM IST
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