The $15 million in ether (4,600 ETH) stolen from Singapore-based Crypto.com is currently being ‘”mixed,” or moved to obscure destinations making it harder to track, via Tornado Cash, an Ethereum mixer, according to on-chain data.
- Tornado Cash is a ETH mixer protocol that promises to improve transaction privacy by obscuring the on-chain link between the source and recipient of ether.
- The protocol launched in early 2020.
- On-chain data first spotted by security consultancy Peck Shield suggests that the 4,600 ether is being sent through the mixer in batches of 100 ether.
- While some say that mixer protocols, or cryptocurrency tumblers, are used to protect the privacy of activists or other politically exposed individuals, they are often used to launder the proceeds of organized crime.
- In a previous statement to CoinDesk, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) said that mixers like Tornado Cash may fall under the definition of a money transmitter, and therefore have “obligations” set by the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA).
- Law enforcement has previously shut down other mixers such as Bestmixer, which was raided by European Union authorities in 2019, and Helix, which was shut down by the FBI in 2021 for laundering Darknet funds.
- Tornado Cash co-founder Roman Storm previously told CoinDesk in an interview that the protocol works with regulators to assuage their fears. Version 2 of Tornado Cash includes a cryptographic note in the transaction history of ether send through its pipes that can be used to determine fund provenance.
- “We are in a little bit of a different situation [than other mixer wallets]. I think for us it’s very important to become compliant,” Storm previously told CoinDesk. “We do what we feel is right.”
- Tornado Cash’s TORN token is up almost 9% during the Asia trading day to $33.31, according to CoinGecko.
CORRECTION (Jan 25, 07:04 UTC): Changes word “laundering” to “mixing” in main headline and lead paragraph.