Authorities shut down Bitcoin mixer ChipMixer, seize $46.6M
- Authorities have seized and taken down the website of ChipMixer
- The crypto mixer was used to launder funds stolen from Binance, Ronin Bridge, and FTX
Bitcoin mixer – ChipMixer has been shut down by authorities, as per an announcement by Europol. The operation involved the collaboration of regulatory authorities from various countries. The operation also resulted in the seizure of four servers, over 1909.4 Bitcoins (BTC) – over $46.6 million (nearly EUR 44.2 million), and 7 TB of data.
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Multiple agencies collaborate to bring down the Bitcoin mixer
United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigation, and Department of Justice took part in taking down the platform. Germany’s Federal Criminal Police Office and General Prosecutors Office Frankfurt-Main also headed the operations. Others included Belgium’s Federal police, Poland’s Central Cybercrime Bureau, and Switzerland’s Cantonal Police of Zurich. The press release further said,
“The ChipMixer software blocked the blockchain trail of the funds, making it attractive for cybercriminals looking to launder illegal proceeds from criminal activities such as drug trafficking, weapons trafficking, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud.”
Moreover, Europol claims that the Bitcoin mixer, launched in mid-2017, was used to launder over $2.87 billion in cryptocurrencies. A majority of this activity was related to markets in the darkweb, stolen cryptocurrencies, and illegal goods trafficking.
Notably, ransomware groups like Mamba, Dharma, Zeppelin, and others have the Bitcoin mixer to launder illegally obtained funds. In addition, the regulatory authorities are investigating the platform’s possible association with the funds related to the now-bankrupt crypto exchange – FTX. The authorities are investigating whether the mixer was used by hackers to launder FTX’s funds, which totally amounted to $372 million. As per an on-chain sleuth, ZachXBT, ChipMixer was used to launder 360 BTC of FTX’s funds.
The Bitcoin mixer was also used by hackers to launder money stolen by Ronin Bridge, according to a report by Slowmist. Hackers had sent 26,021.89 BTC to Chipmixer. The same platform was used by Binance hackers in August 2019, with over 5,300 BTC sent for mixing.
The current action has resulted in the shut down of the website. However, the authority has not announced any arrests related to the case. The press release further read,
“Europol facilitated the information exchange between national authorities and supported the coordination of the operation. Europol also provided analytical support linking available data to various criminal cases within and outside the EU, and supported the investigation through operational analysis, crypto tracing, and forensic analysis.”