Crypto mixer Blender sanctioned by US Treasury for involvement in $600m Ronin theft
The US Treasury has sanctioned cryptocurrency mixing service Blender.io for its involvement in the Ronin sidechain in March. According to the Treasury, Blender.io provided services for the cyber attackers behind the Ronin attacks, resulting in a $600 million profit for the cybercriminals. Blender.io has also been blocked from completing transactions with US persons as a result of the attack. Blender.io was allegedly used by the Lazarus group to process $20.5 million of the profit made from the cyberattack.
This marks the first time ever that the Treasury has sanctioned a virtual currency mixer. However, the Treasury stated that platforms that assist in illicit transactions pose a serious threat to US national security interests, resulting in extreme action such as the sanctions. Blender.io is also reportedly involved in money-laundering schemes for other hacking groups, such as Trickbot, Conti, Ryuk, and Gandcrab. Blender.io operates on the Bitcoin blockchain and essentially scrambles transactions together before transmitting them to their intended destination, effectively making the payments much harder to trace.