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Blockchain security firm SlowMist revealed despite US sanctions, crypto mixer Tornado Cash managed to launder over $500 million worth of crypto in 2023.
According to data provided by blockchain security firm SlowMist, sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash reportedly laundered over half a billion dollars worth of crypto in 2023.
Sanctioned Tornado Cash Not Slowing Down
It seems it's business as usual at Tornado Cash. According to data by blockchain security firm SlowMist, despite the US imposing sanctions on the crypto mixer in 2022, the mixing service managed to launder over $550 million in crypto in 2023.
In an X (formerly Twitter) thread, SlowMist unpacked the nefarious actors of 2023.
The firm revealed that in 2023, around 342,042 ETH (Ethereum) was deposited into Tornado Cash, and 314,740 $ETH was withdrawn from the crypto mixer.
The firm said 2023 witnessed:
“A notable surge in the use of advanced tools like Sinbad, Tornado Cash, and Railgun. These tools are complicating the tracing of illicit transactions, representing a significant challenge in combating crypto-related crimes.”
“In 2023 alone, we saw 342,042 ETH deposited and ~314,740 ETH withdraw from Tornadocash, followed by users depositing 47,235 ETH into eXch and 25,508,148 ERC20 stablecoins into eXch.”
The firm noted that the infamous North Korean hacking group Lazarus was less visible throughout the year.
Tornado Cash and Its Involvement in Money Laundering
The US government sanctioned Tornado Cash after the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) added it to its SDN list in August 2022, alleging it facilitated the laundering of billions in illicit funds. The crypto mixing service has been linked to a well-known North Korean government-backed hacking group, the Lazarus Group, and reportedly laundered over $7 billion in virtual currency since it was created in 2019.
One of Tornado’s developers was arrested in the Netherlands only days after the US sanctioned the mixing service. In August 2023, the US government charged two Tornado Cash co-founders, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, with conspiracy to commit money laundering, sanctions violations and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business.
Many users were outraged by the sanctions, but an appeal to lift the sanctions on Tornado was denied. While security breaches declined by a significant 51% in 2023 compared to 2022, funds crypto asset compromises remain a matter of great concern.
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