The United States has seized $30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen by hackers linked to North Korea. The news was published by blockchain data platform On-chain analysis.
In a recently published blog post, Erin Plante, Senior Director of Investigations, Chainalysis shed some additional light on the matter. He wrote that Chainalysis’ collaboration with law enforcement and major crypto organizations has helped authorities. Together, they could seize over $30 million worth of cryptocurrency.
This is the cryptocurrency that was stolen from the Ronin network by North Korea-linked hacking group, Lazarus.
Lazarus hits hard
The Ronin Network executes transactions related to the gaming company, Axie Infinity. On March 29, 2022, the Ronin Blockchain Team informed in a blog post that it was mined for 173,600 ETH and 25.5 million USDC. These two transactions resulted in a collective loss of $625 million.
The DeFi protocol said it is working directly with various government agencies to ensure criminals are brought to justice. The laundered assets were spread across 12,000 different crypto addresses according to Chainalysis.
The company also identified Tornado Cash, a decentralized cryptocurrency mixer, as the primary tool used by hackers to launder crypto assets. In August 2022, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Tornado Cash for laundering over $7 billion in virtual currency.
OFAC also pointed to its use in laundering over $455 million in cryptocurrency stolen from Axie Infinity. He also noted the role of the Lazarus Group, a state-sponsored hacking group from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
Additionally, in March, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a Press release on the subject in question. The press release stated that cyber-hacking groups, Lazarus Group and APT38, affiliated with the North Korean state, are responsible for various thefts. Most popularly, over $6,200 million in crypto assets. These illicit activities generate revenue for the North Korean regime according to the FBI.
A small victory
The amount recovered is only a fraction of the $600 million in crypto assets stolen by the hacking group. Seizure is always a breakthrough for law enforcement and investigators actively trying to recover some of the remaining loot. However, this news can be seen as a step in the right direction.