Chainalysis Director Reveals US Authorities Confiscated $30 Million Worth of North Korea-Linked Hack

Azeez Mustapha



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Senior director at Chainalysis Erin Plante revealed at the Axiecon event held on Thursday that US authorities had confiscated about $30 million worth of cryptocurrency from North Korean-sponsored hackers.

Noting that the operation was aided by law enforcement and top crypto organizations, Plante explained: “More than $30 million worth of cryptocurrency stolen by North Korean-linked hackers has been seized.” The Chainalysis director emphasized:

“This marks the first time ever that cryptocurrency stolen by a North Korean hacking group has been seized, and we’re confident it won’t be the last.”

“The seizures represent approximately 10% of the total funds stolen from Axie Infinity (accounting for price differences between time stolen and seized),” she further noted, adding that her company also played a role in the operation by “advanced tracing techniques to follow stolen funds to cash out points and liaising with law enforcement and industry players to quickly freeze funds.”

Chainalysis Explains $600 Million Ronin Network Exploit

In March, Ronin Network, an Axie Infinity sidechain, lost over $600 million to hackers. Chainalysis explained that Lazarus Group, a North Korea-linked hacker, secured unauthorized access to five of the nine private keys held by transaction validators for Ronin Network’s cross-chain bridge.

Chainalysis noted that the elite hacker then facilitated two withdrawals, one valued at 173,600 ETH and the other 25,500,000 USDC, adding that the group laundered these funds using “over 12,000 different crypto addresses to date.” The stolen ETH tokens were mixed using Tornado Cash.

Chanalysis continued that following the sanction of Tornado Cash by the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), “Lazarus Group has moved away from the popular Ethereum mixer, instead leveraging DeFi [decentralized finance] services to chain hop or switch between several different kinds of cryptocurrencies in a single transaction.”

Plante noted that “one of the most troubling trends in crypto crime right now is the stunning rise in funds stolen from DeFi protocols, and in particular cross-chain bridges,” elaborating:

“We estimate that so far in 2022, North Korea-linked groups have stolen approximately $1 billion of cryptocurrency from DeFi protocols.”


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Azeez Mustapha

Azeez Mustapha is a trading professional, currency analyst, signals strategist, and funds manager with over ten years of experience within the financial field. As a blogger and finance author, he helps investors understand complex financial concepts, improve their investing skills, and learn how to manage their money.

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