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US Accuses North Korea of Cyber Fraud, Sanctions Crypto Mixer, Blender

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The United States has
accused North Korea of using virtual currency mixer, Blender.io, to support its
“malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency.”

The US Department of the
Treasury, which announced the sanctioning of Blender on Friday, said it has
added Blender to its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked
Persons (SDN List).

SDN is an individual,
entity, or organization deemed detrimental to the security of the United States

Treasury described
Blender “as a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Bitcoin blockchain
and indiscriminately facilitates illicit transactions by obfuscating their
origin, destination, and counterparties.”

The government
department alleged that Blender was used to process over $20.5 million of the
illicit proceeds generated by Lazarus Group, “a Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea (DPRK) cyber-hacking group” it said executed the $615 million Axie Infinity hack on the Ronin Network.

The department also said
Blender has helped transfer more than $500 million worth of Bitcoin since its
creation in 2017.

“Today, for the first
time ever, Treasury is sanctioning a virtual currency mixer,” said Under
Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian
Nelson.

“Virtual currency mixers
that assist illicit transactions pose a threat to U.S. national security
interests. We are taking action against illicit financial activity by the DPRK
and will not allow state-sponsored thievery and its money-laundering enablers
to go unanswered.”

A cryptocurrency mixer or tumbler is a service people use to keep their virtual currency transactions
private. Tumblers achieve this by mixing potentially identifiable
cryptocurrency funds with vast sums of other funds.

Implication of the
Sanction

As a result of the
transaction, Treasury said US citizens are prohibited from having any
business with Blender.

“As a result of today’s
action, all property and interests in property of the entity above, Blender.io,
that is in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons is
blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The United States has
accused North Korea of using virtual currency mixer, Blender.io, to support its
“malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency.”

The US Department of the
Treasury, which announced the sanctioning of Blender on Friday, said it has
added Blender to its List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked
Persons (SDN List).

SDN is an individual,
entity, or organization deemed detrimental to the security of the United States

Treasury described
Blender “as a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Bitcoin blockchain
and indiscriminately facilitates illicit transactions by obfuscating their
origin, destination, and counterparties.”

The government
department alleged that Blender was used to process over $20.5 million of the
illicit proceeds generated by Lazarus Group, “a Democratic People’s Republic of
Korea (DPRK) cyber-hacking group” it said executed the $615 million Axie Infinity hack on the Ronin Network.

The department also said
Blender has helped transfer more than $500 million worth of Bitcoin since its
creation in 2017.

“Today, for the first
time ever, Treasury is sanctioning a virtual currency mixer,” said Under
Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, Brian
Nelson.

“Virtual currency mixers
that assist illicit transactions pose a threat to U.S. national security
interests. We are taking action against illicit financial activity by the DPRK
and will not allow state-sponsored thievery and its money-laundering enablers
to go unanswered.”

A cryptocurrency mixer or tumbler is a service people use to keep their virtual currency transactions
private. Tumblers achieve this by mixing potentially identifiable
cryptocurrency funds with vast sums of other funds.

Implication of the
Sanction

As a result of the
transaction, Treasury said US citizens are prohibited from having any
business with Blender.

“As a result of today’s
action, all property and interests in property of the entity above, Blender.io,
that is in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons is
blocked and must be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control.

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