The cryptomixer reportedly processed $20.5 million of the $620 million received by North Korean hacker Lazarus Group.
The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced Friday that it has sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io for its role in laundering proceeds from Axie Infinity’s Ronin Bridge hack. The state-sponsored North Korean hacker group Lazarus Group has been identified as the perpetrator of the attack.
Treasury Department Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian E. Nelson said in a statement:
“Today, for the first time, the Ministry of Finance imposes sanctions on a virtual currency mixer. […] We are taking action against the DPRK’s illicit financial activities and will not allow state-sponsored theft and its money laundering accomplices to go unanswered.”
In accordance with the sanctions, all Blender.io property in the United States or owned by US citizens will be suspended and must be reported to OFAC.
According to OFAC, Blender.io processed $20.5 million of the approximately $620 million stolen from the Vietnam Play-to-Earn game in the form of approximately $173,600 in ether (ETH) and $25.5 million in coins (USDC ). ). OFAC also found during its investigation that Blender.io enabled money laundering for Russia-linked ransomware groups such as Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Gandcrab. At the time of writing this article, the Blender.io website was down.
The Treasury also added the addresses of four wallets used by the Lazarus group to launder some of the stolen funds to its list of specially designated citizens and banned individuals.
Related: US Treasury sanctions 3 Ethereum addresses allegedly related to North Korea
The Ronin Bridge hack took place on March 23 but wasn’t discovered until the following week. The bridge was accessed through game developer Sky Mavis. This entity was whitelisted indefinitely after helping to process a spike in transactions. Sky Mavis raised $150 million to reimburse users who lost funds to the exploit, and Binance was able to recover $5.8 million of that money from 86 accounts. Lazarus Group was identified as a hacker by OFAC in mid-April.