Tornado Cash Defies Sanctions, Laundering Over $500 Million in Cryptocurrency: Insights and Challenges

Despite facing US sanctions, Tornado Cash, the sanctioned cryptocurrency mixer, managed to launder more than $500 million worth of crypto throughout 2023, according to data from blockchain security firm SlowMist.

Even with the imposition of US sanctions on Tornado Cash in 2022, the crypto mixing service continued its operations as usual and laundered over $550 million in cryptocurrency during 2023, as revealed by SlowMist in a thread on X (formerly Twitter).

SlowMist delved into the activities of nefarious actors in 2023, highlighting that Tornado Cash, along with advanced tools like Sinbad and Railgun, experienced increased usage, complicating the tracing of illicit transactions and presenting a significant challenge in combating crypto-related crimes.

In 2023, Tornado Cash saw approximately 342,042 ETH deposited and 314,740 ETH withdrawn from the mixing service. The firm noted a surge in the use of Tornado Cash and other tools, making it challenging to trace illicit transactions.

Despite Tornado Cash being sanctioned by the US government in 2022 for allegedly facilitating the laundering of billions in illicit funds, the crypto mixer remained active throughout 2023. It has been linked to the Lazarus Group, a well-known North Korean government-backed hacking group, and is reported to have laundered over $7 billion in virtual currency since its inception in 2019.

In August 2023, two Tornado Cash co-founders, Roman Storm and Roman Semenov, were charged by the US government with conspiracy to commit money laundering, sanctions violations, and conspiracy to operate an unlicensed money-transmitting business. Although many users expressed outrage at the sanctions, appeals to lift them were denied.

Despite a significant 51% decline in security breaches in 2023 compared to 2022, the compromise of crypto assets remains a concerning issue.


Disclaimer: Not Investment Advice

it’s crucial to understand that the information provided here is not to be construed as investment advice. The crypto market is dynamic and highly speculative, and decisions should be made based on thorough personal research and consideration of individual risk tolerance. Always consult with financial professionals and conduct your own due diligence before making any investment decisions. The intention of this exploration is to present insights and trends, not to provide specific investment recommendations.

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