US sanctions Sinbad crypto mixer, but what about its copycat?

The US Treasury has announced it is sanctioning crypto mixer, claiming it’s responsible for laundering millions of dollars stolen by North Korea’s Lazarus group. 

According to a Treasury press release, the Sinbad mixer allegedly obfuscated millions of dollars taken from Horizon Bridge, Axie Infinity, and customers of Atomic Wallet.

It’s said to have laundered most of the $620 million stolen from Axie Infinity users in March 2022, the majority of the $100 million taken from Horizon Bridge in June 2022, and the bulk of the $100 million stolen from Atomic Wallet users in June this year. 

The US also claims Sinbad is used by cybercriminals “to obfuscate transactions” that are linked to “sanctions evasion, drug trafficking, the purchase of child sexual abuse materials, and additional illicit sales on darknet marketplaces.”

Authorities may have shut down the mixer’s original address, however, it appears that a mirror of the seized site was apparently registered in Moscow on November 18. Indeed, when a Google search is carried out for the original, the copycat shows as the second result.

Despite having seized the original Sinbad site, authorities now have to deal with an exact replica.

Sinbad mixer is a key money-laundering tool for North Korea

Lazarus group is the notorious hacking collective that works under the control of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The US says the Sinbad mixer is a “key money-laundering tool” for the already sanctioned group, which has allegedly stolen $2 billion worth of digital assets in its time. 

The US says Sinbad operates on the Bitcoin blockchain and is believed by experts to be a successor to the crypto mixer which was the first to be sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on May 6, 2022.  

According to the press release, the sanctions require “all property and interests in property of the entity described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of US persons must be blocked and reported to OFAC.

Read more: US sanctions Russian woman for laundering oligarch funds with crypto

“In addition, persons that engage in certain transactions with the entity designated today may themselves be exposed to sanctions.”

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