- Mixing service Chipmixer has been shut down and $46.5 Million in bitcoin seized
- U.S. and German authorities led the investigation
- It was suggested last November that authorities may have compromised Chipmixer, which we now know they had
Chipmixer, a cryptocurrency mixing service popular in the cybercrime underworld, has been shut down and $46.5 million worth of assets seized after a joint operation between German and U.S. authorities. Chipmixer was targeted by German and US authorities with support from Europol, Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland following an investigation into the platform’s alleged involvement in money laundering activities. On March 15, national authorities took down the platform’s infrastructure and seized four servers, approximately 1,909 BTC from 55 transactions (worth approximately $46.5 million), and 7 TB of data.
Chipmixer had Unique Approach to Mixing
Chipmixer was established in 2017 as a cryptocurrency mixer, offering a specialization in the way it handled illicit transactions: funds were transformed into “chips,” which were mixed together to anonymize the origin of the initial funds. This made it a very attractive option for cybercriminals seeking to launder illegal proceeds obtained from criminal activities such as drug and weapons trafficking, ransomware attacks, and payment card fraud. Chipmixer was available on both the clear and dark web, offering complete anonymity to its clients.
According to the investigation, the criminal service provided by Chipmixer may have facilitated the laundering of 152,000 Bitcoins (approximately $3.7 billion at current rates) in crypto assets. A significant portion of this amount is linked to dark web markets, ransomware groups, trafficking of illicit goods, procurement of child sexual exploitation material, and stolen crypto assets. Information uncovered following the takedown of the Hydra Market dark web platform revealed transactions totaling millions of euros.
Rumors of CIA Honeypot Prove True
Ransomware groups, including Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma, and Lockbit, also utilized Chipmixer to launder the ransom payments they received. Authorities are currently investigating the possibility that some of the crypto assets stolen following the bankruptcy of FTX in 2022 were laundered through Chipmixer.
Four months ago it was suggested that Chipmixer might be a CIA honeypot, and indeed, it seems that authorities may have been involved in some way at that point.