Cryptocurrency mixers hit a usage record in 2022

The use of cryptocurrency mixers reached an all-time high in 2022, according to a report by Chainalysis. And we notice an evolution in the majority of the addresses that send their funds there. Focus on this little-known sector of the ecosystem and the entities that use it.

https://cryptoast.fr/mixeurs-cryptomoines-record-utilisation-2022/

Use of cryptocurrency mixers on the rise in 2022

Unsurprisingly, the Chainalysis report is very supportive of regulation, with the company also attempting to “break down” transactions through its services. But it offers a good overview the evolution of cryptocurrency mixersand their actual uses.

We remind you that mixers (or “tumblers”) are platforms that allow you to anonymize transactions in Bitcoin (BTC) or other cryptocurrencies. They are named after the initial process, which consisted of to mix the pieces together.

Mixers are obviously useful for people who want to discreetly move cryptocurrency funds, but as Chainalysis points out, they are not always criminal funds. The platforms can in fact be used by people who live in totalitarian countries or who have not authorized cryptocurrencies. The desire not to leave a trace can also be seen as an end in itself, especially for users close to the initial ideals of cypherpunks.

Once this context is established, however, we can report it 10% of the funds sent to the mixers come from illicit sources. Less than 1% comes from high-risk exchanges, betting platforms, peer-to-peer exchanges, DeFi and centralized exchanges. Note, however, that Chainalysis does not report the remainder, which is probably not parseable.

👉 To go further – What is a Bitcoin glass or mixer?

Volumes also rising

The value received by the mixers peaked in early 2022, before plummeting following falling cryptocurrency prices. On April 19, the medium funds sent to the mixers reached an all-time high of $ 51.8 million :

Figure 1: evolution of the value sent to cryptocurrency mixers

If we look at the origin of the funds received, we see that practices have changed in recent years. From 2021, decentralized finance (DeFi) is now an important channeland there is also a breakthrough in centralized trading platforms:

Source cryptocurrency mixer funds

Figure 2: Origin of funds sent to cryptocurrency mixers

There is also a turning point in illicit addresses, with funds doubled compared to last year according to Chainalysis:

illegal addresses they represent 23% of the funds sent to mixers in 2022compared to 12% last year.

👉Read also – Crypto-crime: 93% of illicitly obtained assets stolen

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Which criminals use cryptocurrency mixers?

The report also examines the types of criminal activity that led to these transactions. In recent years, most of the volume comes from sanctioned platforms, such as darknet markets such as Hydra Market. The second sector by volume is represented by stolen funds:

Cryptocurrency mixers sent for value

Figure 3: Category of addresses that sent funds to mixers

Other interesting data: in the category “entities subject to sanctions”, large criminal groups represent a very significant share of the volume for 2022, less heterogeneous than one might think. Therefore, Hydra Marketplace represents over 50% of the funds came from sanctioned entities sent to mixers in 2022. The North Korean Lazarus group, very often associated with large-scale hacks, accounts for 30%. We also note 18% of Blender.io, which is itself a mixer associated with Lazarus:

Sanction entities that originate funds

Figure 4: Sanctioned subjects who used mixers in 2022

Further chain analysis notes a turning point of the North Korean entities. It is not really a surprise: for years this country has been witnessing the use of cryptocurrencies, with attacks targeted in particular on centralized exchanges.

👉 On the same topic – US sanctions blender.io, accusing it of aiding North Korea in its hacks

The place of mixers in the ecosystem

Having the means to preserve one’s privacy is generally a milestone, especially in the cryptocurrency industry, which was built with this ideal in mind. Mixers therefore have their role to play, even when used by criminals. This data is also a reminder of something worth repeating: most cryptocurrencies are not truly anonymousand it will be necessary to go through ancillary services to leave no traces.

We must also point out that criminal activity now accounts for only 0.15% of cryptocurrency transactions. A fact to keep in mind when regulators and analysts point out the alleged danger of the sector.

👉 Find out also: Russian financial monitoring agency wants to monitor cryptocurrency transactions more closely

Source data and graphs: Chainalysis

published by editions Larousse

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