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North Korea’s Lazarus hackers embrace new mixer after Tornado Cash, Sinbad sanctions

North Korea’s Lazarus hackers embrace new mixer after Tornado Cash, Sinbad sanctions
North Korea's Lazarus Group is adapting to a changing environment. Credit: Andrés Tapia
  • North Korea's hackers find new crypto mixer
  • Bankrupt Celsius distributes $2 billion in crypto
  • Indonesia continues down crypto-friendly path

Lazarus Group hackers using new crypto mixer

Bitcoin mixer YoMix has emerged as a go-to for laundering stolen crypto by the notorious North Korean Lazarus Group of hackers, Chainalysis said in an annual report.

Crypto money-laundering activity last year declined to $22.2 billion from $31.5 billion in 2022 as mixing services Tornado Cash and Sinbad were sanctioned or closed.

Some of that decline may be attributed to an overall decrease in crypto transaction volume amid a down market in 2023. Still, the drop in money-laundering activity was steeper, at 29.5%, compared with a 14.9% reduction in total transaction volume.

YoMix enjoyed tremendous growth in 2023, with inflows expanding more than five times over the course of the year.

“Roughly one-third of all YoMix inflows have come from wallets associated with crypto hacks. The growth of YoMix and its embrace by Lazarus Group is a prime example of sophisticated actors’ ability to adapt and find replacement obfuscation services when previously popular ones are shut down,” Chainalysis said.

The North Korea-affiliated hackers have also adapted different cloaking techniques by using cross-chain bridges, transferring crypto across different blockchain networks.

North Korea’s hackers help fund the country’s missile program, DL News has reported.

Bankrupt Celsius pays creditors $2 billion worth of crypto

Bankrupt crypto platform Celsius has distributed $2 billion of crypto to creditors, according to a court filing by Kirkland & Ellis, a Chicago-based law firm advising the collapsed company.

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Distributions of crypto to US creditors are being made via PayPal, while Coinbase serves overseas holders. The law firm confirmed the transfer of $2 billion worth of crypto, including 20,255.66 Bitcoin and 301,338.77 Ether.

Creditors who have not agreed with the Celsius restructuring plan will receive no funds until their claims are resolved, the filing noted.

Indonesia backs crypto-friendly leaders

Prabowo Subianto, a former defence minister, and his pro-crypto running mate Gibran Rakabuming Raka have emerged as the country’s probable next president and vice president in the recent election, CoinDesk reported.

Gibran, who is the son of incumbent President Joko Widodo, is likely to help boost the crypto-friendly policies of a country that has more registered crypto investors than stock traders, the report said.

During the campaign, Gibran said he wants to help create blockchain and crypto experts in the country, which already has 18 million crypto investors.

Crypto market movers

  • Bitcoin is up 0.40% today at $51,874.10.
  • Ethereum is up 0.86% today at $2,810.75.

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