North Korea’s crypto market is facing malicious cyber activities and money laundering in the country. Hence to avoid such activities North Korea is secretly using the sanctions said in a press release, this Friday.
In action to this, the U.S Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control issued its first sanctions against Virtual Assets mixing service, Bender.io, in connection with North Korea.
Crypto mixers are nothing but privacy-enhancing services, initiated to allow users to vanish the digital money trails left after most of the crypto transactions on Blockchain networks, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Ordinary transfers done on these networks are easily accessible by the public and make it difficult for authorities to crack down on such illegal finance.
Further, the OFAC claims the blender was used to launder funds for Russian-linked ransomware groups such as Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, Sodinokibi, and Gandcrab. Also, claims such illegal activities that Blender was used to obscure $20.5 million illegal proceeds of the infamous Ronin hack in March.
One of the largest crypto hacks of $620 million emptied the treasury of the Popular play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, and hackers then dispersed the funds to various exchanges and mixers
The Under Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Brain E.Nelson said in a press release that Virtual Currency mixers assist illegal transactions and pose a threat to U.S national security interests. Also stated that
” we are taking actions against illicit financial activity by the DPRK and will not allow state-sponsored thievery and its money-laundering enablers to go unanswered.”
In addition, the department updates the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked persons (SDN List) in order to include crypto addresses to the Lazarus Group. Which is an anonymous cybercrime group linked to the North Korean state, sanctioned by the Treasury since 2019.