The US has enforced penalties on the digital currency mixing service Sinbad due to suspected connections with North Korea.
On Wednesday, the Treasury Department of the United States announced sanctions against a virtual currency mixer. This mixer has reportedly handled millions of dollars in cryptocurrency from large-scale thefts committed by hackers linked to North Korea.
The U.S. Treasury Department announced that Sinbad, a virtual currency mixer, was subject to sanctions on Wednesday for handling millions of dollars in virtual currency stolen by the North Korea-affiliated Lazarus Group. This includes funds from the Axie Infinity and Horizon Bride heists, which totaled hundreds of millions of dollars.
The U.S. has approved Lazarus, but the group has been accused of committing some of the biggest thefts of virtual currency thus far. In March 2022, they reportedly took approximately $620 million in virtual currency from a blockchain project associated with the online game Axie Infinity.
Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo stated on Wednesday that there will be severe repercussions for mixing services that aid criminal entities, like the Lazarus Group, in laundering stolen assets.
The Treasury Department and its partners in the U.S. government are prepared to use all available resources to stop virtual currency mixers, such as Sinbad, from aiding in illegal activities.
A digital currency mixer is a program that combines and mixes cryptocurrencies from numerous addresses.
Some industry experts speculate that Sinbad may be a replacement for the Blender mixer, which the U.S. imposed sanctions on last year due to allegations that it was being utilized by North Korea.
The Treasury has reported that Sinbad is being utilized by cybercriminals to conceal transactions associated with actions like evading sanctions, trafficking drugs, and buying materials related to child sexual abuse, as well as other malicious activities.
On Wednesday, all U.S. assets belonging to Sinbad will be frozen and Americans will be prohibited from conducting business with it. Those who participate in specific transactions with the mixer may also face sanctions.