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The Ronin bridge hackers (the Lazarus Group), according to an on-chain study by SlowMists, used the privacy protocol ChipMixer to launder 3,460 BTC ($73.2 million as of press time).
An on-chain examination of the Ronin hack was done, and mixing protocol ChipMixer was indicted as a destination for hackers on the Bitcoin network in a mid-year report by blockchain security company SlowMist.
The investigation claims that on March 29, hackers stole assets worth $610 million from Axie Infinity's Ronin bridge. However, most of the money was laundered on the Ethereum and Bitcoin networks.
The money that was used to launder money on the Ethereum blockchain was transferred to Tornado Cash at a rate of 74.7% (300,160 ETH), while the hacker’s address still holds 95,570 ETH.
6,531.04 BTC in total were sent to the Bitcoin network. 36.6% of the cash was kept at the hacker’s address, while 3,460 BTC (49.1% of the total) were laundered thanks to ChipMixer.
The hackers stole 2,671 BTC from the ChipMixer protocol and moved the money in small amounts through Blender, Wasabi Coinjoin, and the Binance exchange.
The study also discovered that renowned hackers like the Lazarous Group favor using the Bitcoin network to swindle money. This is justified by the fact that, compared to Ethereum, Bitcoin offers them greater flexibility and anonymity while carrying out their illegal activities. More money has been laundered by The Lazarus Group using Bitcoin than any other network.
On the Bitcoin network, ChipMixer enabled the laundering of 48.9% of the money, but Tornado Cash enabled the laundering of 74.6% of the funds on the Ethereum network.
SlowMist reported that 14,370 BTC were removed from the mixing protocol in 2022, while 26,021 BTC were given to ChipMixer. The Ronin bridge hack in March marked the height of its financial crime activity.
Regulators may also keep an eye on ChipMixer because they target mixing protocol. Blender’s mixing protocol received a punishment from the US Treasury earlier in May due to its role in the Ronin breach. More recently, Tornado Cash was forced to cease operations after the US Treasury detained and sanctioned Alexey Pertsev, the company’s developer.