Bitcoin and Ethereum: North Korea’s Number 1 Crypto Enemy?

Non-free person – That decentralized economy, driven by multi-billion dollar transaction volumes, attracts greed. Blockchain and the means it attracts whet the appetite of hackers. Sometimes cryptocurrencies have been removed, sometimes just ripped off, become primary targets. So much so that US law seems to have web pirates in the binoculars. In the fight against this cybercrime, North Korea has been designated as the digital enemy number 1. Let’s decrypt.

North Korea in the sights of the crypto-gendarmes

that Hack from Axie Infinity March last year allowed US regulators to confirm what they said in early 2022: North Korea is a cryptocurrency. In fact, these state hackers risk setting fire to the blockchain. In this fight, the US Treasury Department wants to increase its efforts to block the $ 620 million cryptocurrency of Axie Infinity hackers.

While the alleged purpose is to increase privacy, blenders like Blender are commonly used by illegal actors. Blender has been helping to transfer over $ 500 million worth of Bitcoin since its inception in 2017 and (…) used it in the money laundering process for DPRK’s Axie Infinity theft and processed over $ 20.5 million. ”

Release of the Treasury.

In this dynamic, OFAC, denOffice of Foreign Asset Controlsanctions Blender, crypto-mixing service linked to North Korea and blacklists new Bitcoin and Ethereum addresses. As a reminder, so-called mixing services make it possible to hide the origin and destination of a transaction. This makes it impossible for investigators to track the addresses of hackers.

This list, recently updated, shows 46 Bitcoin addresses and 12 Ethereum addresses. It is then $ 20.5 million, stolen from the Ronin Network, which would have been laundered. By obscuring Blender addresses, OFAC wants to prevent North Korea from exploiting the global financial system.

Axie Infinity hack, symbol of the conflict between North Korea and the United States.
Lazarus, a group of North Korean hackers, would be responsible for the hack by Axie Infinity

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Crypto-mixing services in full storm?

According to the US Treasury Department, Blender is involved in several ransomware attacks. We’re calling Ransomwarea malicious computer program that takes hostages for a website, confidential documents or even a crypto platform, to demand a ransom in exchange.

However, this is not the first time that addresses have been blocked by blockchain police. However, this is the first time a crypto-mixing service has been added to an OFAC sanction list.

“Today, the US Treasury Department of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has sanctioned Virtual Currency Blender (Blender). It is used by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to support its malicious cyber activists.

Only so far has Blender been sanctioned. However, other services are in OFAC’s view. Tornado cash for example, is on a draft seat. In fact, analyzes of tracking stolen transactions show that more than 21,000 ETH were laundered on Tornado Cash.

The Ministry of Finance remains clear in its statements. ” Virtual currency mixers that help criminals no place in the global economy. In fact, according to the US regulator, they pose a threat to national security. North Korea and its regular hacking attempts may be just a pretext for weaken anonymity and decentralization more generally.

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