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The United States Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Blender.io’s cryptocurrency blending service, preventing transactions with US citizens, and provided services to attackers who fled $ 600 million from Ronin’s side chain in March.

Last month, the finance ministry said the theft was committed by North Korean group Lazarus, which it sanctioned for the first time in 2019, and updated its listed cryptocurrency addresses at the time and again on Friday.

After the attack, Blender was used to process $ 20.5 million.

“For the first time in history, the Treasury Department has sanctioned a virtual currency mixer,” said Treasury Department Deputy Secretary of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brian Nelson.

“Virtual currency mixers that facilitate illegal transactions pose a threat to US national security interests. We are taking action against the illegal financial activities of the DPRK and will not allow state-sponsored theft and its money laundering to go unanswered. ”

The finance ministry added that Blender was also involved in laundering Russian-related ransomware groups, including Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, Sodinokibi and Gandcrab.

“Blender.io is a virtual currency mixer that runs on the Bitcoin blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates illegal transactions by concealing their origin, destination and counterparties. Blender receives various transactions and mixes them before handing them over to their final destinations, ”the Treasury Department said.

“While the supposed goal is to increase privacy, mixers like the Blender are commonly used by illegal entrants.”

Sanctions mean that any Blender property or majority Blender property located in the United States must be reported and all transactions by Americans in the United States are blocked unless licensed to do so. Sanctions cover funds, goods and services.

The attack on Ronin’s side chain raised 173,600 in Ethereum and 25.5 million in US coins, which was noticed only a week later. Ronin was announced in mid-2020 by Axie Infinity, a game winning game created by Vietnamese blockchain maker Sky Mavis as a way to overcome Ethereum’s network congestion.

To carry out the attack, the attacker gained control of four validators operated by Sky Mavis and one operated by Axie DAO.

IN after death, the company acknowledged that it did not have an appropriate tracking system. The replacement system will involve human interaction in large quantities, it said.

Through a combination of phishing with a copy and a list of permits of the Axie DAO validator, which was not removed, Lazarus was able to take control of the side chain.

The side chain increases the number of validators by 21 in three months and long-term by 100 validators.

He added that Ronin’s bridge should be reopened by mid-May and that all consumer funds are being restored.

Flowchart of how Blender.io mixes cryptocurrency

Image: US Treasury Department

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https://www.zdnet.com/article/crypto-mixer-blender-sanctioned-by-us-treasury-for-involvement-in-600m-ronin-theft/#ftag=RSSbaffb68

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