The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has imposed sanctions on the virtual currency mixer Blender.io.
Notably, North Korea uses Blender to propagate its cybercrime and launder stolen virtual currency. For example, the state-sponsored North Korean cyber hacking syndicate Lazarus Group looted virtual currency worth $620 million in March 2022. The hackers used Blender to process more than $20.5 million of the criminal proceeds. OFAC’s investigation has further revealed the use of Blender in money laundering for malign ransomware groups linked to Russia.
This marks the first time the US has imposed sanctions on a virtual currency mixer. In addition to the sanction, the US Treasury is updating the List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN List) with all virtual currency addresses that the Lazarus Group uses to launder illicit proceeds.
Source: US Department of the Treasury