US seizes $30 million worth of crypto from North Korea-linked hackers

Representations of cryptocurrencies in this illustration taken January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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Sep 8 (Reuters) – The United States has seized more than $30 million in cryptocurrency stolen by North Korea-linked hackers Lazarus of popular online game Axie Infinity, crypto intelligence firm Chainalysis said on Thursday .

The company said in a Blog post it played a role in recovery with US law enforcement and other unnamed crypto organizations in the first-ever recovery of cryptocurrency stolen by a North Korean hacking group.

Chainalysis and North Korea’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The seizures represent about 10% of the total funds stolen in March from Ronin Network, a sidechain built for play-to-earn game Axie Infinity, Chainalysis said.

Ronin said in March that hackers stole around $615 million in cryptocurrency. Read more

“We estimate that so far in 2022, North Korea-linked groups have stolen approximately $1 billion worth of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols,” Chainalysis said. He was referring to decentralized financial protocols, an umbrella term for financial services offered on public blockchains.

The US Treasury Department in May sanctioned virtual currency mixer Blender, saying it had been used in the process of laundering the Axie Infinity heist. Read more

The Treasury Department in April also linked Lazarus to the attack. Read more

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Reporting by Rachna Dhanrajani in Bengaluru; Editing by Richard Chang

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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