Why did the US blacklist crypto-mixer, Tornado Cash?

The US Department of the Treasury has added the Tornado Cash crypto mixer to a list of sanctioned organizations, barring all US citizens from interacting with it and requiring that US assets belonging to Tornado Cash be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control, courtesy of experts from online casino games.

The announcement was made on Monday morning by the Treasury in a press release that cited Tornado Cash’s role in laundering cryptocurrency stolen in major hacks, especially those linked to North Korean hacking groups. In March, $625 million was stolen from the blockchain behind the Axie Infinity crypto game and laundered through Tornado Cash — a heist that the FBI has attributed to the North Korea-based Lazarus Group.

The dramatic move from the Treasury is the latest escalation in a series of enforcement actions against Tornado Cash and other crypto mixers, which help to obfuscate cryptocurrency transactions by pooling funds together and then redistributing them to contributors. In a statement, Brian E. Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that the mixer had not taken adequate steps to prevent its services from being used by some of the most prolific cybercriminals.

“Today, Treasury is sanctioning Tornado Cash, a virtual currency mixer that launders the proceeds of cybercrimes, including those committed against victims in the United States,” Nelson said. “Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks.”

“Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them,” Nelson said.

Tornado Cash is now the second cryptocurrency mixer to find itself effectively cut off from the US financial system. In May, the Treasury added Blender.io to its sanctions list, also citing Blender’s use by North Korean hacking groups as well as global ransomware gangs like Conti and Trickbot, which can help you on how to choose an Australian online casino.

Tornado Cash (Tornado) is a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates anonymous transactions by obfuscating their origin, destination, and counterparties, with no attempt to determine their origin. Tornado receives a variety of transactions and mixes them together before transmitting them to their individual recipients. While the purported purpose is to increase privacy, mixers like Tornado are commonly used by illicit actors to launder funds, especially those stolen during significant heists.

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