US treasury whips up sanctions for crypto mixer Tornado Cash

The US Treasury Department is levying sanctions against Tornado Cash, a notorious cryptocurrency mixer that it says has been used by threat groups like ransomware gang Lazarus to launder stolen digital assets.

According to the government agency, Tornado Cash has been used to launder more than $455 million stolen by the North Korean-supported Lazarus Group, including more than $96 million in Wrapped Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital assets from blockchain startup Harmony’s Horizon Bridge service in June.

Tornado Cash also has been linked to an array of other high-profile heists, including at least $80 million in Ethereum and Beans cryptocurrencies stolen from decentralized finance platform Beanstalk Farms in April and $1.2 million in cryptocurrency from decentralized autonomous organization Inverse Finance in June.

Most recently, Tornado Cash allegedly laundered about $7.8 million of $200 million in tokens stolen from cryptocurrency bridge Nomad earlier this month, according to Treasury.

Brian Nelson, Treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, said in a statement Monday that the agency had no recourse but to levy the sanctions.

“Despite public assurances otherwise, Tornado Cash has repeatedly failed to impose effective controls designed to stop it from laundering funds for malicious cyber actors on a regular basis and without basic measures to address its risks,” Nelson said. “Treasury will continue to aggressively pursue actions against mixers that launder virtual currency for criminals and those who assist them.”

Under the sanctions, US citizens or anyone in the United States can no longer do business with Tornado Cash

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