The U.S. Treasury Department has introduced sanctions on cryptocurrency mixer Blender.io after helping support North Korea's "malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency," with the sanctions being the first among virtual currency mixers, The Verge
North Korean state-sponsored threat group Lazarus has leveraged Blender.io for laundering $20.5 million in cryptocurrency stolen from Axie Infinity, according to the Treasury, which added that hacking groups are usually used by North Korea to fund ballistic missile programs and weapons of mass destruction.
Aside from using Blender, Lazarus was also found to have utilized Tornado Cash to filter some of the funds exfiltrated during the Axie Infinity hack
in an effort to better conceal transactions.
With the sanctions, Blender, which the Treasury also claims to have engaged with the Conti, Sodinokibi, or REvil, and TrickBot ransomware operations, will not only be barred from accessing U.S.-stored funds, but also from transacting with U.S. companies and citizens.