Cryptocurrency ‘mixers’ see record transactions from sanctioned actors

Use of so-called cryptocurrency “mixers,” which combine various types of assets to mask their origin, peaked at a 30-day average of nearly $52 million worth of digital currency in April, representing an unprecedented volume of funds moving through those services, researchers at cryptocurrency research firm Chainalysis found. A near two-fold increase in funds sent from illicit addresses has accelerated the increase, indicating that the technology that can obfuscate the currency continues to be highly attractive to cyber criminals. Cryptocurrency mixers work by taking an individual’s cryptocurrency and combining it with a larger pool before returning units equivalent to the original amount minus a service fee to the original account. As a result, it makes it harder for law enforcement and cryptocurrency analysts to trace the currency. Mixers aren’t solely used by criminals, but they are extremely popular with them. Chainalysis found that 10% of all funds from illicit wallets are sent to mixers, while mixers received less than .5% of the share of other sources of funds tracked by the firm, including decentralized finance projects.

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