Hackers, fraudsters, and others laundered at the least $540 million via the cryptocurrency bridge community RenBridge since 2020, in accordance to blockchain evaluation group Elliptic. Elliptic researchers published the report as we speak, citing RenBridge for example of the dangers of decentralized cross-chain networks.
RenBridge is pitched as a means to simply convert digital currencies like ZCash and Bitcoin to the Ethereum community and then to different blockchains. But “as well as a legitimate tool, cross-chain bridges have also emerged as a key facilitator of money laundering,” letting customers keep away from rules and transfer cash simply throughout networks, the report says. That consists of the proceeds of ransomware operations and theft from different chains.
Cryptocurrency isn’t as untraceable as some customers anticipate, however it’s nonetheless potential to masks the sources of funds with particular providers, particularly decentralized ones like Elliptic. And regulators have began to take discover. Earlier this week, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned Tornado Cash, a decentralized mixer designed to obscure the sources of crypto. It made a similar move with the mixer Blender.io in May. In each of these instances, the federal government famous the providers’ alleged use by North Korean hacker teams.
Elliptic’s report equally suggests RenBridge was used to launder cash stolen from Japan’s Liquid crypto network, a hack linked with North Korea. It additionally claims RenBridge is standard amongst Russia-linked ransomware operations, saying $153 million in ransomware was laundered via the service.
Many different digital providers might be used for each crime and noncriminal functions, like privateness and censorship evasion. But decentralized finance or DeFi is particularly rife with theft and hacking, and figuring out chokepoints is probably helpful for safety analysts and governments alike.