US Sanctions Blender.io for Supporting Terror
US Treasury sanctions a cryptocurrency mixing site for supporting North Korean hackers who have been stealing hundreds of millions of dollars. Blender.io is a virtual currency mixing site that obfuscates the origins of cryptocurrency coin transactions.
Mixing services are privacy tools that malicious entities can also use for laundering illicit funds. In this case, the Lazarus Group, a North Korean government sponsored hacking group, recently stole $620 million worth of virtual tokens from the popular online game Axie Infinity.
It is normal practice for cryptocurrency exchange sites to band together to proactively block transactions from coins acquired by cyberattacks, thus making it very difficult for the thieves to swap them for other assets. Blender.io then processed over $20 million of those tokens, essentially laundering them, undermining legitimate sites from blocking their liquidation. This constitutes as support for terrorist activities which threaten national security interests, in direct violation of the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) rules.
When organizations support international crime and terrorism, they should be held accountable.