• Chip Mixer, a crypto tool designed to mask transactions and users, has been shut down by the Department of Justice.
• The DOJ believes that Chip Mixer was used for laundering up to $3 billion in digital funds.
• A Vietnamese operator has been arrested and charged with money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and identity theft.
Chip Mixer Shut Down By DOJ
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has shut down the crypto tool Chip Mixer which was designed to hide where digital currencies were acquired or who they’re being used by. It is believed that this tool could have helped launder as much as $3 billion in illicit digital funds.
Two Sites Taken Down
In addition to shutting down the main product, two sites associated with it were also taken offline. These sites could have been used by cyberthieves and assorted criminals for various activities such as hacking schemes, crypto heists, fraud and even ransomware attacks.
Vietnamese Operator Arrested
A Vietnamese operator associated with the tool has been arrested and charged with money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and identity theft among other things. This arrest is part of a larger effort from the US government to target foreign mixers that are believed to be helping bad actors launder their ill-gotten gains on a large scale.
FBI Comment On Case
Jacqueline Maguire of the FBI Philadelphia Field Office commented on why this case was important: “Criminals have long sought to launder the proceeds of their illegal activity through various means … Technology has changed the game though with a site like Chip Mixer and facilitator[s] like Nguyen enabling bad actors to do so on a grand scale with ease.“
Previous Action Against Crypto Mixers
This isn’t the first time that US authorities have targeted foreign mixers in order to combat illicit activities related to cryptocurrencies; recently sanctions were issued against Tornado Cash which is alleged to have laundered up $7 billion in crypto assets for North Korean agents.