US Treasury bans Tornado Cash mixer for role in crypto money laundering
The US Department of the Treasury has added the Tornado Cash crypto mixer to a list of sanctioned organizations, barring all US citizens from interacting with it and requiring that US assets belonging to Tornado Cash be reported to the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The announcement was made on Monday morning by the Treasury in a press release that cited Tornado Cash’s role in laundering cryptocurrency stolen in major hacks, especially those linked to North Korean hacking groups. In March, $625 million was stolen from the blockchain behind the Axie Infinity crypto game and laundered through Tornado Cash — a heist that the FBI has attributed to the North Korea-based Lazarus Group. The dramatic move from the Treasury is the latest escalation in a series of enforcement actions against Tornado Cash and other crypto mixers, which help to obfuscate cryptocurrency transactions by pooling funds together and then redistributing them to contributors. In a statement, Brian E. Nelson, under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said that the mixer had not taken adequate steps to prevent its services from being used by some of the most prolific cybercriminals.