US Imposes Sanctions on Major Virtual Currency Mixer Tornado Cash

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Photo taken on March 19, 2020 shows U.S. dollar banknotes in Washington D.C., the United States. The Trump administration's plan to send Americans relief money as part of a massive stimulus package in response to COVID-19 could be 1,000 U.S. dollars per person, and 500 dollars per child, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
Photo taken on March 19, 2020 shows U.S. dollar banknotes in Washington D.C., the United States. The Trump administration's plan to send Americans relief money as part of a massive stimulus package in response to COVID-19 could be 1,000 U.S. dollars per person, and 500 dollars per child, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)
The United States has imposed sanctions on a major virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash that has been allegedly used to launder more than $7 billion since 2019, the US Department of the Treasury said in a press release on Monday.

“Today, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019,” the release said.

The mixer was allegedly used by the Lazarus group, a North Korea state-sponsored hacking group, to steal some $455 million as well as to launder more than $96 million as part of the June 24 Harmony Bridge Heist, and $7.8 million in the August 2 Nomad Heist, the release said.

Tornado Cash is a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates anonymous transactions by obfuscating their origin, destination and counterparties, with no attempt to determine their origin, the release added.

Tornado has become the second virtual currency mixer designated by the United States after the Treasury Department imposed sanctions in May on a virtual currency mixer Blender.io that had allegedly been used by North Korea to conduct cyber activities and money laundering operations.

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