How North Korean Hackers Exploit Bitcoin’s Blockchain to Outwit the Law

  • US law enforcement has cracked down at Chinese nationals who laundered $100 million in stolen crypto for North Korean hackers.

  • The hackers are exploiting Bitcoin's blockchain to hide their tracks.

  • Chainalysis' Philip Gradwell explains to Decrypt how they're doing it.

Recently, the US Department of Justice charged two Chinese nationals, Tian Yinyin and Li Jiadong, with laundering over $100 million worth of stolen cryptocurrencies to benefit their alleged co-conspirators in North Korea. The corresponding documents unsealed by the US government also indicate that Kim Jong-un’s state-sponsored hackers keep evolving their tactics, often employing so-called “peel chains” to cover their tracks.

Speaking to Decrypt, Philip Gradwell, the chief economist at blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis, explained that peel chains are a natural feature of “Unspent Transaction Output” blockchains, such as Bitcoin. This is because when value is transferred from one entity to another on a UTXO blockchain, a “change transfer” is almost always generated at the same time. Read More...

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