On Wednesday, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on a cryptocurrency service called Sinbad for allegedly laundering millions of dollars for the North Korean regime. The FBI and European law enforcement agencies have also seized the website of the crypto service.
The US government has become increasingly focused on stopping North Korea from using stolen cryptocurrency to fund its nuclear weapons and missile programs. In May, a senior White House official noted that about half of North Korea’s missile program has been funded by cyberattacks and cryptocurrency theft.
According to the US Treasury, Sinbad laundered a “significant portion” of three different hacks of cryptocurrency firms in the last two years in which the North Koreans allegedly stole at least $100 million each time. Sinbad is a so-called “mixing service” which obscures the source of cryptocurrency.
In January, the South Korean intelligence service worked with private crypto-tracking experts to seize about $1 million in cryptocurrency that North Koreans had stolen from a victim. North Korea has also used thousands of IT workers working overseas to secretly raise revenue.
The US Treasury sanctioned Sinbad after the Treasury had previously sanctioned another mixer popular with the North Koreans in August 2022. Despite the seizure of Sinbad’s public website, its dark-web site is still online. North Korea is already moving to other crypto mixing services, according to a former FBI intelligence analyst.