Europol shuts crypo tumbler ChipMixer, seize $46m in bitcoin

Quick Take

  • Europol seizes $46 million in bitcoin and shuts down ChipMixer, a crypto transaction mixer, alleging it facilitated $3.8 billion worth of money laundering.

Crypto tumbler ChipMixer is the target of law enforcement as American and European federal authorities took action to seize assets and dismantle the platform, according to announcement from the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation, or Europol. 

U.S. and German authorities took down the ChipMixer infrastructure for its alleged involvement in money laundering activities and seized four servers, about 1,909 bitcoins (worth $46 million) and 7TB of data. Belgian, Polish and Swiss authorities also supported the investigation.

The platform, operating since 2017, may have facilitated the laundering of 152,000 BTC ($3.8 billion) worth of crypto assets, connected to darkweb markets, ransomware, illicit goods trafficking, child exploitation material and stolen crypto.

Ransomware actors such as Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma and Lockbit have used this service to launder ransom payments, police said in the report. 

Regulators have previously eyed crypto mixers with suspicion. In August the U.S. Treasury sanctioned crypto mixer Tornado Cash for money laundering suspicions in August 2022. The protocol developer is currently detained in the Netherlands awaiting trial. 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.