US bans use of world's most popular cryptocurrency 'mixer'

 Tornado Cash, one of the most used cryptocurrency "mixers" today, has been sanctioned by the US 

Typically, crypto thieves will deposit the proceeds into Tornado Cash to "mix" it up, then take out the exact amount they put in. The nature of the money has since changed, allowing the bad guys to easily use it without being traced.

According to data from the US Department of Commerce, Tornado Cash has been used to launder more than $7 billion in cryptocurrencies since 2019, of which North Korean hacker organization Lazarus laundered about $450 million through this service. In addition, Tornado Cash is also the software that hackers used to launder more than 100 million USD after the attack on the Horizon Bridge blockchain in June.

According to Fortune, Tornado Cash is considered one of the most popular mixers today. The tool supports depositing Ethereum (ETH) cryptocurrency into its protocol or software, then withdrawing the same amount, the trace of every transaction is concealed. "Whenever Ethereum withdraws to a new address, there is no way to link the withdrawal to the deposit at the old address, which ensures absolute privacy," according to the information on the Tornado Cash website. Because of this principle, Tornado Cash is seen as a "powerful tool for crypto criminals". According to statistics, the service has more than 39,000 regular users with about 3.5 million Ethereum deposited.

Despite being banned, completely blocking Tornado Cash is considered impossible, because the service operates in a decentralized form. "If it's shut down at one point, it will appear at another," commented Ari Redbord, head of regulatory and government affairs at blockchain firm TRM Labs. "However, the sanctions could be a message that the US government will not tolerate any person or organization using mixer for nefarious acts."

Tornado Cash is the second "mixer" targeted by the US Department of Commerce. In May, the agency issued sanctions against another similar service called The tool is also believed to be used by North Korean hackers to launder illicit funds from cryptocurrency attacks.
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