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The owners managed to launder more than EUR 4 billion through the ChipMixer platform.
German security forces have dismantled a major cryptocurrency laundering platform, ChipMixer, that cybercriminals used to launder more than €4 billion. The operation was carried out by Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and General Prosecutors Office Frankfurt-Main, with the support of partners from other countries including the FBI and Europol. As Europol reported on March 15, the authorities blocked all the software infrastructure and seized €44.2 million in crypto.
ChipMixer is a software that enables users to hide the trail of funds in the blockchain. The software “mixes’’ the transaction trail, allowing the recipient to achieve anonymity, and is, therefore, extremely popular among cybercriminals who use it to obtain funds for illegal activities. Since the launch of the software in 2017, the owners of ChipMixer have managed to launder over 152,000 BTC, which is equivalent to around €4.4 billion as of April 2023.
The platform’s primary customers have been malicious actors who launder money from various Dark Web activities. Through ChipMixer, cybercriminals have withdrawn money obtained from arms trafficking, drug trafficking, other illegal goods, ransomware, child sexual exploitation material, and stolen crypto assets, states Europol.
ChipMixer was connected to the Hydra marketplace
Investigators have also linked ChipMixer to the operators of various malware i.e. Zeppelin, SunCrypt, Mamba, Dharma (Lockbit), and the darknet marketplace Hydra. The latter is a major Russian drug marketplace that was shut down on April 5, 2022. Back there, the German Federal Criminal Police Office reported the seizure of Bitcoins worth approximately €23 million. Europol has stated that several million euros belonging to Hydra were laundered using ChipMixer.
During the investigation, law enforcers identified ChipMixer’s infrastructure and achieved a complete shutdown of the site. The operation led to the seizure of four servers with more than 7 TB of data and 1,909.4 BTC, which is equivalent to €54.2 million as of April 2023. To investigate ChipMixer’s activity, law enforcement agencies from the USA, Germany, Poland, Switzerland, and Belgium were involved.