A shuttered crypto transaction mixer once sanctioned by U.S. regulators may have returned under a new name, according to an analysis by crypto firm Elliptic.
Elliptic said that on-chain data show a likely connection between Blender, which was sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) in August, and a service called Sinbad.
Blender shut down in Dec. 2022 after being linked to money laundering activity by Lazarus, a North Korean hacking syndicate suspected of stealing billions in crypto.
“Analysis indicates that Sinbad is in fact highly likely to be a rebrand of Blender, with the same individual or group responsible for it,” said Elliptic.
“Blender may have been motivated to re-brand in order to avoid sanctions, and OFAC could now seek to impose further sanctions on Sinbad,” Tom Robinson, chief scientist at Elliptic, told The Block, adding that the measure may have been taken to restore trust in users “following Blender’s abrupt closure last year, and the disappearance of significant amounts of funds from the mixer.”
In several ways, Blender and Sinbad are nearly identical, according to Elliptic.
As with Blender, Sinbad is a custodial mixer, meaning its operator or operators maintain complete control of any assets the service is handling until transferring them out. Both mixers feature 10-digit mixer codes, guarantee letters signed by the service address, and a transaction delay no greater than seven days.
Prior to Sinbad’s launch, one of the site’s service addresses “received Bitcoin from a wallet believed to be controlled by the operator of Blender" according to Elliptic, which added that the suspected Blender wallet also issued payments to those who promoted Sinbad.
Roughly $22 million in early transactions were routed through Sinbad from the suspected Blender operator, according to Elliptic.
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