RenBridge Has Laundered $540 Million in Illicit Funds – Elliptic Analysis

RenBridge Has Laundered $540 Million in Illicit Funds – Elliptic Analysis 1

Last Updated on 8 mins by cryptoevent

More than $500 million has been laundered through cryptocurrency bridge network RenBridge since 2020, blockchain analysis group Elliptic said.

In a report published on Wednesday Elliptical cited RenBridge as an example of the risks of decentralized cross-chain networks.

RenBridge and cross-chain bridges

RenBridge (REN) is an open-protocol cross-chain bridge that serves as a way to improve decentralized finance (DeFi) interoperability, allowing currencies like Bitcoin to easily convert to the Ethereum network and then to other blockchains.

Cross-chain bridges allow assets to be transferred between blockchains without having to go through centralized exchanges.

However, although they are a legitimate tool for many, they have also become a tool for money launderers.

According to Elliptic, RenBridge has facilitated $540 million in money laundering since 2020 through a process known as chain hopping — converting one cytpo into another and moving it across multiple blockchains.

In their report, Elliptic said that cross-chain bridges offer “an unregulated alternative to exchange for transferring value between blockchains.”

Elliptic Analysis

Massive hacks

The Nomad hack on August 2 was partially performed on RenBridge, leaking $2.4 million of stolen crypto assets.

Elliptic also noted that $267.2 million in DeFi assets was also laundered on RenBridge over the past two years, while a percentage of the $80 million stolen from Liquid Global last year — allegedly by North Koreans Hackers – the protocol happened.

Russia-linked ransomware group Conti, which attacked the Costa Rican government in June, has laundered around $153 million through RenBridge.

Another group, Ryuk, is said to have laundered around $92 million over the past four years after hundreds of ransomware attacks on hospitals and schools, with transfers still ongoing.

The report noted that blockchain bridges like RenBridge pose a major challenge for authorities and regulators “as there is no central service provider facilitating these cross-chain transactions.”

However, the news had little impact on the price of the REN token as the coin was operating at a similar price as before the news after recovering from a small drop.

The news follows an announcement by the US Treasury Department that mixer Tornado Cash has been sanctioned after laundering up to $7 billion in crypto through the platform since 2019.


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