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According to blockchain analysts, funds stolen from Axie Infinity via sidechain Ronin, laundered with the help of cryptomixers, who are now under sanctions.
“Where to run with money?”
In March, the Ronin network – a blockchain that is used as a bridge to start and withdraw assets in Axie Infinity – was hacked. As a result, the attackers managed to withdraw 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC from the popular P2E platform. The total amount of theft in dollar terms exceeded $600 million.
Thanks to the transparency of the blockchain, the attacker’s address did not remain a mystery to the crypto community for long. His wallet was soon tagged with Ronin Bridge Exploiter 8. Soon the hacker became more active and began to withdraw coins to various addresses.
Mixers to help
If earlier hackers used centralized exchanges to convert stolen cryptocurrency into fiat, then they began to prefer cryptocurrency mixers. Such platforms help to “cover up” the digital footprint when moving looted coins, breaking the connection between source and destination addresses.
One of the most popular mixers is Tornado Cash. It supports anonymous transactions for ETH and ERC-20 tokens.
Back in April, analyst Colin Wu, known on Twitter under the nickname Wu Blockchain, tracking transactions from the hacker’s address, commented that 200 ETH from him was sent to the TornadoCash mixer.
Now another analyst under the nickname ₿liteZero from the firm SlowMist, engaged in cybersecurity, said that he also tracked the fate of the stolen money. As he managed to find out, the attackers who broke the Ronin bridge transferred the stolen funds from ether (ETH) to bitcoins (BTC).
At the same time, they actively used mixers that fell under sanctions, such as ChipMixer and Blender. Most of the money was laundered through them.
According to ₿liteZero, the hackers converted 6,249 ETH coins through Tornado Cash and sent them to the Huobi crypto exchange, where they exchanged them for bitcoins. Another 5,028 coins were displayed on the FTX according to the same scheme.
After that, the Slowmist expert continues, 439 bitcoins with Huobi passed through Blender, a mixer that is now under US government sanctions for links with North Korean hackers.
In addition, another 113,000 ETH were sent to Tornado Cash, and then converted through decentralized exchanges (DEX) Uniswap and 1inch into renBTC tokens, and subsequently into bitcoins.
U.S. authorities oppose
Such functionality of mixers has long caused the US authorities to worry and strive to stop illegal activities that are carried out through such platforms.
Last, in August, under the cap The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control got Tornado Cash. According to the regulator’s calculations, the platform has helped launder assets worth more than $ 7 billion since its launch in 2019.
See also Ethermine pool began blocking transactions linked to Tornado Cash
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