Chip Mixer Shut Down: U.S. DOJ Seizes $3B in Illicit Funds
• Chip Mixer, a crypto tool used to hide digital currencies from authorities, has been shut down by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
• It is believed that Chip Mixer facilitated up to $3 billion in illicit funds.
• The DOJ arrested and charged a Vietnamese operator of the tool with money laundering and identity theft.
Chip Mixer Shut Down
The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently shut down Chip Mixer, a crypto tool designed to hide where digital currencies have been garnered or who they’re being used by. It is estimated that the tool was involved in launderings as much as $3 billion in illicit digital funds. Two sites associated with the chip mixer were also disabled along with the primary product itself.
Criminal Use of Crypto Tools
Mixers can be very dangerous as they are built to obscure assets from law enforcement and allow cyberthieves and assorted criminals to launder their ill-gotten gains. This makes it difficult for victims to trace stolen funds and thus stand little chance of recovering them.
A Vietnamese operator of the chip mixer has been arrested and charged with money laundering, operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, and identity theft among other things. Jacqueline Maguire of the FBI Philadelphia Field Office commented on this case: “Criminals have long sought to launder the proceeds of their illegal activity through various means…Technology has changed the game…with facilitator[s] like Nguyen enabling bad actors to do so on a grand scale with ease.“
Prior Actions Taken
This isn’t the first time U.S authorities have targeted foreign mixers; previously, sanctions were issued against Tornado Cash for involvement in North Korean agents laundering $7 billion worth of crypto assets.
Chip Mixer’s shutdown shows that authorities are taking action against those who use crypto tools for nefarious purposes such as money laundering and identity theft. Hopefully this trend will continue so that people can feel safe when using cryptocurrencies without fear that ill-gotten gains could enter circulation undetected by law enforcement agencies.