Crypto mixer Tornado Cash laundered over $550m in 2023 despite sanctions


Crypto mixer Tornado Cash laundered over $550m in 2023 despite sanctions

Notorious crypto mixing service Tornado Cash laundered more than half a billion worth of crypto in 2023.

Although the U.S. imposed sanctions against Tornado Cash in late 2022, the mixing service is still helping criminals launder hundreds of millions worth of cryptocurrencies. According to data compiled by SlowMist, in 2023 alone, Tornado Cash saw around 314,740 ETH in withdrawals, valuing at around 818.3 million at current prices (or $567.2 million based on 2023 rates).

In 2023 alone, we saw 342,042 ETH deposited and ~314,740 ETH withdraw from Tornadocash, followed by users depositing 47,235 ETH into eXch and 25,508,148 ERC20 stablecoins into eXch.

— SlowMist (@SlowMist_Team) January 11, 2024

According to the analysts, North Korea-affiliated hackers Lazarus Group have shifted gears, becoming less visible as they focused on laundering the “enormous cache of funds purloined in 2022.” Despite still a significant amount of funds being laundered through Tornado Cash, the overall volume passing through Tornado Cash has decreased by close to 85% post sanctions, TRM Labs said in an October 2023 report.

“Perhaps most importantly, North Korean hackers appear to have largely abandoned the service in favor of more traditional Bitcoin mixers.”

TRM Labs

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Despite the decline in Tornado Cash’s volume post-sanctions, the crypto landscape remains rife with such mixing protocols as new services continue to emerge, seeking to fill the void left by the decline of Tornado Cash’s dominance in the market.

In late November 2023, reported that the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions against another crypto mixing service called Sinbad (formerly for its role in helping money laundering for bad actors, including North Korea’s Lazarus Group.

OFAC imposed sanctions against Tornado Cash back in 2022, claiming the service was used to launder more than $7 billion worth of crypto since 2019. This included over $455 million stolen by Lazarus Group, more than $96 million of malicious cyber actors’ funds derived from the Harmony Bridge heist, and at least $7.8 million from the Nomad heist.


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