Mixers are a go-to tool for cybercriminals dealing in cryptocurrency, and therefore one of the most important types of cryptocurrency services for investigators and compliance professionals to understand, according to recent research by blockchain data platform Chainalysis.
In mixing, the bitcoin owner sends his funds to the mixing service, which then combines them with those of other users and sends the merged currency to the desired address, making it impossible to link the original transaction to the address in question.
The typical rate for the mixing service ranges from 0.25 to 3 percent of the amount to be mixed. In this way, the user obtains bitcoin from other users without being tracked, but there is a chance that the bitcoin they acquire will be used for illegal purposes.
The study shows that mixer tools are designed to provide more privacy in cryptocurrency transactions, but may also be used to camouflage the source of funds and “fool” blockchain investigators.
Chainalysis highlights that financial privacy is important, especially to people living under oppressive governments or who otherwise need the ability to make legal transactions anonymously. However, the analysis says that mixers’ core functionality, combined with the fact that mixers rarely if ever ask for KYC information, makes them naturally attractive to cybercriminals.
Data reveal that 10 percent of all funds sent from illicit addresses are sent to mixers — no other service type cracked a 0.3 percent mixer sending share.
Moreover, although mixers may soon become obsolete, Chainalysis notes that for the time being, they are receiving more cryptocurrency than ever in 2022.
The paper further observes that while the value received by mixers fluctuates significantly day-to-day, the 30-day moving average reached an all-time high of $51.8 million worth of cryptocurrency on April 19, 2022, more than doubling incoming volumes at the same time in 2021.