- RenBridge was used to expedite the laundering of at least $540 million in cryptocurrency funds tied to illicit activities.
- Elliptic explained that some transfers facilitated by RenBridge since 2020 were conducted through a process called chain hopping.
- The blockchain analytics firm also said that cross-chain bridges are popular among cybercriminals.
RenBridge, a cross-chain bridge that enables cryptocurrencies to be moved between blockchains, was used to expedite the laundering of at least $540 million in cryptocurrency funds tied to illicit activities, blockchain analytics Elliptic said on August 10.
In a report, Elliptic explained that some transfers facilitated by RenBridge since 2020 were conducted through a process called chain hopping—the “movement of the proceeds of crime between blockchains.”
RenBridge – has been used to launder at least $540 million in cryptoassets originating from theft, fraud, ransomware and various other types of criminal activity since 2020.
“RenBridge has become particularly popular with those seeking to launder the proceeds of theft,” penned Elliptic in its report. “Cryptoassets stolen from exchanges and decentralized finance (DeFi) services worth at least $267.2 million have been laundered through RenBridge over the past two years.”
Out of the $267.2 million, $33.8 million was stolen from Liquid, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange, in August last year. In total, $97 million was stolen from Liquid. This attack was linked to North Korea.
While cross-chain bridges offer legitimate tools for cryptocurrency holders to seamlessly move their assets between blockchains, they can also be used as key facilitators of money laundering. Since this technology provides an unregulated alternative, unlike cryptocurrency exchanges, cybercriminals often use the platform.
Furthermore, cross-chain bridges are vulnerable to cyber attacks. Earlier this year, two separate hacks targeted the Ronin and Nomad bridges, which saw $825 million in stolen funds. Based on the estimates of analytics company Chainalysis, nearly $2 billion may have been siphoned from cross-chain bridges this year so far.