(Berlin) German authorities announced on Wednesday that they had taken down “the world’s largest cryptocurrency laundering platform”, seizing millions of euros worth of bitcoins.
Law enforcement seized around 44 million euros worth of digital currency in the operation against the ChipMixer platform, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said in a press release.
In collaboration with the American authorities and the European agency Europol, the investigators seized the servers belonging to the site.
The ChipMixer operators are suspected of “commercial money laundering and running a criminal internet trading platform”, German authorities said.
ChipMixer is said to have accepted criminally obtained bitcoins for remittance after they were “mixed” to disguise their origin.
According to investigators, ChipMixer promised users “complete anonymity”.
In operation since mid-2017, the platform is estimated to have laundered “around 154,000 bitcoins” worth around €2.8 billion, investigators added.
A significant part came from the underground internet (darknet) and various criminal activities, the cryptocurrencies having in particular been obtained by using ransomware, or “ransomware”.
In April 2022, the German and American authorities had dismantled an underground internet sales platform, called “Hydra Market”, which had been operating in the Russian language since 2015.
Transactions from “Hydra Market” worth millions of euros have been traced to ChipMixer, investigators said.