According to the European Union’s Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, better known as Europol, on March 15, the agency confiscated the assets of cryptocurrency “mixer” ChipMixer for its alleged involvement in money laundering activities.
The authorities shut down the infrastructure of this site, gaining access to 4 servers and 7 terabytes of data (including users and their transactions).
Later, the “mixer” was formally charged with laundering 152,000 BTC (that’s over $45 million in fiat equivalent at the current exchange rate).
According to prosecutors, a total of about $3.8 billion of “black” money “passed” through the platform associated with darknet markets, ransomware, illegal circulation of goods and services, intimate materials and the theft of cryptocurrency.
The total seized assets include more than 1,900 BTC worth 44.2 million euros ($46 million). Decentralized finance analyst ZachXBT previously claimed that hackers of the collapsed cryptocurrency exchange FTX laundered 360 BTC ($5.9 million) using ChipMixer after a $372 million exploit.
“ChipMixer, an unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer created in mid-2017, specialized in mixing or obfuscating the trails associated with virtual currency assets. The ChipMixer software concealed the trail of funds on the blockchain, making it attractive to cybercriminals seeking to launder illicit proceeds of crime,” law enforcement officials said in a statement.
Funds invested in ChipMixer were turned into “chips” or small tokens of equivalent value, which were then mixed together to anonymize the original fund footprint.
Ransomware actors such as Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma or Lockbit have used this service to launder the ransom they received.
It can be noted that this is a major success for the power structures of the countries. However, this does not mean that cybercriminals will use other mixers to launder the funds received through illegal means.