Cross-chain bridge RenBridge laundered $540M in hacking proceeds: Elliptic

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Cross-chain bridges have been the goal of quite a lot of hacks this 12 months, however new information from blockchain analytics supplier Elliptic alleges one has been used to launder over half a billion {dollars} in ill-gotten crypto property. 

In response to an Aug. 10 report, crypto bridge RenBridge has facilitated the laundering of no less than $540 million in proceeds of crime since 2020 via a course of often known as chain hopping — changing one type of cryptocurrency into one other and transferring it throughout a number of blockchains.

Elliptic stated that decentralized cross-chain bridges present “an unregulated various to exchanges for transferring worth between blockchains.”

Rogue states and hacker teams

For essentially the most half, cross-chain bridges or blockchain bridges are used for official functions, enabling customers to maneuver cryptocurrencies seamlessly throughout blockchain networks.

Customers usually deposit their tokens from one chain to the bridge protocol, which is locked right into a contract, then the consumer is issued the equal of a parallel token in one other chain.

Nonetheless, Elliptic famous these bridges have additionally been utilized by ransomware gangs, exploiters, and hackers to launder proceeds of crime, with RenBridge accounting for no less than $540 million of laundered proceeds since 2020. 

Most not too long ago, no less than $2.4 million in crypto property stolen throughout the Nomad hack on Aug 2 went via the cross-chain bridge, based on the agency.

Elliptic additionally famous that property from decentralized finance (DeFi) companies value no less than $267.2 million have been laundered utilizing RenBridge within the final two years, whereas a portion of the $80 million stolen from Liquid International change final 12 months, allegedly by North Korea, has handed via RenBridge.

The Conti ransomware group, which famously attacked the Costa Rican authorities again in June, has additionally laundered over $53 million via RenBridge to this point.

Authorities involved

Elliptic famous that blockchain bridges equivalent to RenBridge poses a problem to authorities making an attempt to clamp down on people and teams utilizing the rising know-how for illicit actions.

“Blockchain bridges equivalent to RenBridge pose a problem to regulators since there is no such thing as a central service supplier that facilitates these cross-chain transactions,” it stated. 

Associated: Is there a safe future for cross-chain bridges?

In a Jun. 30 standing report from the Monetary Motion Process Power (FATF), the intergovernmental group highlighted rising dangers related to “chain hopping,” notably within the DeFi area:

“The speedy progress and evolution of the Defi sector is a trigger for concern because it may trigger dangers to speed up and proliferate.”