Bitcoin

Authorities Shutdown ChipMixer

Police authorities from Germany and the United States, with the support of Europol, collaborated to target ChipMixer, a cryptocurrency mixer that is well-known within the cybercriminal underworld.

Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland also provided support in the investigation. The authorities took down the platform’s infrastructure due to its alleged involvement in money laundering activities. As a result of the operation, four servers were seized, along with approximately 1909.4 Bitcoins in 55 transactions, which is worth roughly EUR 44.2 million. Additionally, 7 TB of data was also confiscated.

ChipMixer Website. Photo credit Europol

ChipMixer offered complete anonymity to its clients. Such services are often used by criminals to launder crypto assets before redirecting them to cryptocurrency exchanges, some of which are also involved in organized crime. At the end of the process, the “cleaned” crypto can be easily exchanged into other cryptocurrencies or converted directly into fiat currency through ATMs or bank accounts.

According to the investigation, ChipMixer helped to launder around 152,000 Bitcoins, which is estimated to be worth roughly EUR 2.73 billion currently. A significant portion of this is linked to dark web markets, ransomware groups, illicit goods trafficking, child sexual exploitation material procurement, and stolen crypto assets. Transactions worth millions of euros were uncovered after the takedown of the Hydra Market dark web platform.

Ransomware criminals, such as Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma, or Lockbit, have also used ChipMixer to launder ransom payments they received. Authorities are also exploring the possibility that some of the crypto assets stolen after the bankruptcy of a major crypto exchange in 2022 were laundered through ChipMixer.

The information exchange between national authorities was facilitated by Europol, which also supported the operation’s coordination. Europol provided analytical support, linking available data to various criminal cases within and outside the EU, and supported the investigation through operational analysis, crypto tracing, and forensic analysis. The Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) at Europol also provided assistance in the operation. This standing operational team consists of cybercrime liaison officers from different countries who work on high-profile cybercrime investigations.

M. Ali

Daily cryptocurrency trader, miner, technology enthusiast and a full time IT and security consultant. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email him at nabil@wibbic.com

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