Darkweb’s Largest Crypto “Laundromat” ChipMixer Shuttered by US and German Authorities

Read full article at Bitcoinist.

One of the largest crypto-focused cybercriminal organizations known in the underworld, Chipmixer, has been shut down in a joint effort by German and U.S. authorities. According to a Europol press release, the investigation was also supported by Belgian, Polish, and Swiss authorities. 

The crypto Mixer organization was accused of being involved in money laundering activities across four servers, over 19,000 Bitcoin in 55 transactions worth approximately $45 million, in which 7 terabytes of data were seized.

What Is ChipMixer And How They Perpetrated Crypto’s Greediest Theft 

ChipMixer is an unlicensed cryptocurrency mixer created in 2017 that specializes in cutting the trails associated with digital assets. According to Europol, the ChipMixer software allowed criminals to disguise the blockchain trail of funds, making it “more attractive” to cybercriminals seeking to launder illegal proceeds for criminal activities such as drug trafficking, weapons, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud. 

The deposited funds were converted into “chips,” small tokens of comparable value, further mixed, allowing criminals to anonymize all traces of where the original funds had originated.

Additionally, the service was offered on “the clear” and on the dark web. ChipMixer offered its customers complete anonymity to avoid the law. Authorities claim this service is often used before criminals launder digital assets and are further redirected to cryptocurrency exchanges.

Allegedly, not only the criminals were involved, according to Europol, cryptocurrency exchanges were also involved in this form of organized crime, where at the end of the process, the “cleaned” digital asset was exchanged into other cryptocurrencies, or directly into government-issued currency (FIAT), through ATM or bank accounts.

Over $3 Million In Digital Assets Stolen 

According to the investigation of the criminal organization, the platform may have facilitated the laundering of 152,000 Bitcoin, valued at over $3 million in digital assets. Many were linked to dark web markets, ransomware groups, illicit goods, trafficking, and stolen crypto assets. 

Officials conducted the investigation using information obtained after the shutdown of the Hydra dark web platform. This online criminal marketplace allowed users, primarily in Russian-speaking countries, to buy and sell illicit goods and services, which uncovered millions of dollars in transactions.

In addition, authorities are investigating the possibility that some of the digital assets stolen after the bankruptcy of a major cryptocurrency exchange in 2022 were laundered through the cybercriminal organization ChipMixer. 

Europol reported that it assisted the investigation with operational analysis and forensic analysis. On the other hand, the US participated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security, and the Department of Justice to take down the criminal crypto net.

Feature image from Unsplash, chart from TradingView.com 

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#Bitcoin #Cryptocurrency #Crypto

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