Cross-chain bridges are used to send digital assets across blockchains. They bypass a centralized service that can trace and freeze transactions. They have been used to launder at least $1 billion in crime-related crypto cash since 2020, according to Elliptic. The company says it is working to make cross-chain transactions easier.

RenBridge has been used to launder at least $540 million in crime-related crypto cash since 2020. Included in that amount is $153 million in ransomware payments. Elliptic says RenBridge was "an important facilitator" for Russia-linked ransomware gangs.

Cross-chain bridges are vital to the development of the decentralized finance, or DeFi, space. The flipside is, "they're effectively ungoverned, and so very vulnerable to hacks," Carlisle says. He expects regulators to start zeroing in on bridges in the next six to 12 months.

Cross-chain bridges let users send tokens from one chain to another. Transfers of digital assets rely on Darknodes, or networks of thousands of pseudonymous validators. That's allowed them to become a prime tool for obfuscating crypto cash. The action taken by the Treasury shows that U.S. regulators are prepared to go after criminal behavior in crypto.

RenBridge has been used to launder assets originating from theft, fraud, ransomware, and various other types of criminal activity. The service was also used by the Conti cybercrime group, which recently attacked the Costa Rican government. Elliptic's research shows that Conti has laundered more than $53 million through RenBridge.
Posted by BI bizpoke
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