The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) declared sanctions on virtual currency mixer Blender as it was used in a cyber attack on the Ronin Network.
As per the release, Lazarus Group, a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) state-sponsored cyber hacking group has leveraged Blender to wash out $20.5 million funds out of over $600 million stolen from the Ronin Network.
After the intense sanctions from the U.S and the UN, the DPRK has again activated illicit activities including cyber-enabled heists from cryptocurrency exchanges and financial institutions.
The purpose behind these attacks was to fetch essential capital to develop illegal weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and ballistic missile programs.
“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 E. 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.”
This is the very first time that federal authority has sanctioned a virtual currency mixer. The Treasury is also preparing a list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) to identify other virtual currency addresses linked to money laundering.