The United States Treasury has added more Ethereum wallets to its sanctioned list. The wallets are linked to the North Korean-based Lazarus hacking group that breached the Ronin Network. Ronin powers Axie Infinity, a popular play-to-earn game.
The US treasury has discovered three additional wallets likely controlled by the hackers who siphoned 622 million US dollars from Ronin last month. It’s believed that the hacking group is on the payroll of the North Korean government.
OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control), a department in the US Treasury, has a list of sanctioned crypto wallets. On-chain data shows that the wallets recorded large deposits in the last seven days, with the sender being the wallet holding funds stolen from the Ronin protocol.
The move comes a few days after a leading coin mixing service, Tornado Cash, announced that it will no longer facilitate transactions from wallets on OFAC’s list. Note that a coin mixing platform mixes several transactions to hide their source and destination.
In a tweet, the Treasury Department noted that North Korea is known to use “illicit activities” as a revenue-generating method and a way to ease the sting of sanctions imposed on the country by the United States and the United Nations.
Access to Tornado Cashed Blocked, Close to Six Million USD Recovered
One among the three wallets preferred channeling funds through the transaction mixing service shortly before being identified by OFAC. Now, due to their sanctioned status, the wallets will no longer use Tornado Cash.
Last month, malicious actors breached the security of the Ronin-Ethereum bridge and pocketed over 600 million US dollars in Ethereum (ETH) and USD Coin (USDC).
Sky Mavis, Axie Infinity’s creator, disclosed that the hackers managed to take over the platform using genuine private keys stolen from their real owners. With the keys, the malicious actors were able to initiate transactions successfully.
The game developer has since disclosed that affected users will be compensated. Sky Marvis even conducted a fresh funding round that attracted 150 million users to help reimburse users.
Yesterday, Binance revealed that it had recovered close to six million US dollars from the Ronin Network hackers. According to the exchange’s CEO, Changpend Zhao (CZ), the funds were scattered in more than 86 accounts. On Friday, the original wallet holding the funds had a balance of roughly 280 million US dollars worth of crypto.
The Fidelity Stack has a Dance Floor and Lobby
Elliptic, a blockchain analytics firm, recently revealed that most of the funds moving out of the wallet go to centralized cryptocurrency trading platforms, decentralized trading protocols, and coin mixing services.
In January, Chainalysis disclosed that North Korean cyber criminals stole approximately 400 million US dollars worth of virtual currencies in 2021. Most of the stolen funds were in ETH and Bitcoin (BTC).
This month, the US Treasury said it’s watching Hydra and Garantex for their alleged involvement with funds from ransomware attacks. Hydra is a Russian-headquartered illicit marketplace, while Garantex is a crypto exchange.
As the US Treasury sanctions more Ethereum wallets, Fidelity has launched an 8-story building in the metaverse. The brokerage firm named it “The Fidelity Stack.” According to the firm, the new investment aims to provide basic lessons around investing. Fidelity is among the leading financial companies and has more than 11 trillion US dollars worth of assets under management.
Eight Billion Individuals in the Metaverse by 2030
The building dedicates an entire floor to educating visitors about FMET or Fidelity Metaverse. FMET is Fidelity’s wing that deals with investments in the virtual world. According to the company, the building is “built in Decentraland,” an Ethereum-based virtual world. Other features found on the Fidelity metaverse building are a dance floor and a lobby.
Users can also challenge themselves to learn about exchange-traded fund investing as they crisscross the building and collect “orbs.” The firm refers to such kind of learning as “the Invest Quest.”
Apart from Fidelity, JPMorgan, a leading investment bank, also has a lounge on Decentraland. Kathryn Condon, an executive at the brokerage firm, commented on Fidelity’s move noting that our engagement with money and “each other” is changing tremendously. The change is hastened by decentralized technology and the metaverse.
In March, Citi forecasted that the virtual world is headed towards a 13-trillion USD valuation within the next eight years. By 2030, the financial firm predicted that five billion users will be in the metaverse.