Police have shut down the dark web crypto money laundering service linked to the FTX hack

An international coalition of law enforcement agencies announced on Wednesday that it has taken down the popular dark web crypto money laundering service ChipMixer, seizing more than $46 million in crypto and terabytes of server data.

For example, the service was used last year by the attacker who stole money from the now failed crypto exchange FTX, but also by various ransomware groups.

“The platform and criminal content have been seized,” the ChipMixer website now reads.

“The ChipMixer software blocked the funds’ blockchain trail, making it attractive to cybercriminals seeking to launder illicit proceeds from criminal activities such as drug trafficking, arms trafficking, ransomware attacks and payment card fraud,” Europol wrote in a press release. “Money deposited would be converted into ‘chips’ (small tokens of the same value), which were then mixed together – anonymizing all the paths to where the original money came from.”

Image credit: ChipMixer

Launched in mid-2017, ChipMixer was allegedly used to facilitate the laundering of 152,000 Bitcoins worth nearly $2.5 billion, according to Europol. Europol spokesperson Ina Mihaylova told CoinTech that “the estimate is based on the average price of bitcoin for the past 5 years, as the figure refers to this period.”

Blockchain analytics firm Elliptic estimates that ChipMixer has been used to launder more than $844 million in Bitcoin, “including at least $666 million in thefts,” according to Tom Robinson, the company’s co-founder and chief scientist.

“ChipMixer was one of many mixers used to launder the proceeds of hacks from North Korea’s Lazarus Group. The mixer has also been used by ransomware gangs and darknet drug dealers,” Robinson said in an email.

According to Europol, the service was popular with hackers as it was used by ransomware groups such as LockBit, Mamba and SunCrypt.

The operation was coordinated by Europol in cooperation with the Belgian federal police; German Federal Investigation and Prosecutor’s Office Frankfurt-Main; the Polish Central Bureau of Cybercrime; Swiss Cantonal Police of Zurich; and in the US the Federal Bureau of Investigation and ICE Homeland Security Investigations.

Laundered bitcoin value corrected as billions, not millions, due to editorial error. SW

Do you have more information about crypto hacks or crypto mixing services? We’d love to hear from you. From a non-work device, you can securely contact Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai on Signal at +1 917 257 1382, or via Wickr, Telegram and Wire @lorenzofb, or email lorenzo@techcrunch.com. You can also contact CoinTech via SecureDrop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *