Crypto Mixer to Replace U.S. Treasury's Role in "Enabling Malicious Cyber Activities
The new crypto mixer designation essentially replaces the U.S. Treasury's actions from August, which imposed sanctions for its role in "enabling malicious cyber activities."
The United States Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) has amended the sanctions on cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash and included two individuals involved in "transportation and procurement activities" for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in its list of Specially Designated Nationals (SDN). The amendments to the sanctions against Tornado Cash come as the result of an investigation into the mixer's role in facilitating illicit activities, including money laundering and terrorist financing. The two individuals added to the SDN list are believed to be involved in the transportation and procurement of goods for the DPRK's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
The Department of the Treasury's announcement is a strong signal that it is serious about cracking down on cryptocurrency-related crime. The move to delist and redesignate Tornado Cash is a significant step in this effort, and sends a clear message that the US government is committed to combating illicit activity involving digital currencies. This action is sure to have a ripple effect across the cryptocurrency industry, and will help to further legitimize the space in the eyes of regulators and law enforcement.
The redesignation of Tornado Cash as a sanctioned entity effectively replaces the Treasury Department's previous actions against the crypto mixer in August. The new sanctions are based on the mixer's role in "enabling malicious cyber activities, which ultimately support the DPRK's [weapons of mass destruction] program." The original sanctions against the Lazarus Group did not specifically mention North Korea's nuclear program, but the new designation makes the connection explicit.
The US Treasury Department has announced new sanctions against North Korea, targeting the country's weapons programs and its reliance on illicit activities to generate revenue. Under Secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence Brian Nelson said that the new sanctions are aimed at two "key nodes" of North Korea's weapons programs: its increasing reliance on cybercrime to generate revenue, and its ability to procure and transport goods in support of its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs. Nelson said that the new sanctions will "significantly constrict" North Korea's ability to generate revenue and procure goods for its weapons programs, and called on the international community to support the US in its efforts to pressure North Korea to denuclearize.
The crypto space has seen its share of legal action against the U.S. Treasury, most recently over the sanctions against the mixer known as Tornado Cash. A group of investors backed by Coinbase, one of the largest U.S.-based crypto exchanges, filed suit in September, claiming that the Treasury's actions were "not in accordance with law." The advocacy group Coin Center also filed suit against the government department in October, saying that the mixer was a "privacy tool beyond the control of anyone." These lawsuits highlight the tension between the government's efforts to crack down on illicit activity in the crypto space and the community's desire for privacy and anonymity. It remains to be seen how these cases will play out, but it is clear that the crypto community is not backing down in the face of government opposition.
The United States has 7 bases for different military branches on Japan’s mainland, and North Korea has fired several missiles over northern Japan in the last month. While none of the missiles have caused any casualties or damage, the situation remains tense and could escalate at any time. The United States and Japan remain committed to their alliance and will work together to ensure the safety and security of the region.