Citing its use in the laundering of an estimated $7 billion in illicit currency, the United States Treasury has blacklisted the crypto mixing outfit Tornado Cash. Now that the company has been added to the government entity’s list of Specially Designated Nationals, all individuals and organizations in the U.S. face criminal penalties for interacting with Tornado Cash going forward.
“Tornado Cash has been the go-to mixer for cybercriminals looking to launder the proceeds of crime,” said a spokesperson for the department in the official announcement of the ban, “as well as helping to enable hackers, including those currently under U.S. sanctions, to launder the proceeds of their cybercrimes by covering up the origin and transfer of this illicit virtual currency.”
While blacklisting by the Treasury seems like an extreme action—indeed, according to industry voices this is the boldest action ever by a government office with regard to crypto—the ties between Tornado Cash and illegal activity are well established by this point. The North Korean hacking organization known as the Lazarus Group was demonstrated to have used the crypto mixer for the $625 million stolen during the Ronin Hack earlier this year.