The hints of a repression from the Ministry of Treasury on cryptocurrency exchanges were apparently accurate. The Treasury has imposed sanctions on the SUEX cryptocurrency exchange because they allegedly facilitated ransomware attacks. SUEX has allegedly helped wash away the bad profits from at least eight ransomware variants, and is so in demand that more than 40 percent of its known transactions come from “illegal actors,” according to the department.
The move blocks SUEX’s access to property (and interests in property) covered by U.S. jurisdiction. The block also applies to any entity where the exchange has a controlling interest, preventing banks and individuals from conducting ‘certain transactions’.
The Treasury stressed that it believed that ‘most’ cryptocurrency activities were legal, and that some exchanges merely fall victim to ransomware attackers. However, SUEX allegedly helped these attacks for its ‘own illegal profits’. The organization was fully aware of what was happening, in other words.
The move in line with a Wall Street Journal leak indicating a sanctions strategy following Biden’s cyber security response to a series of high-profile ransomware attacks. Instead of trying to disrupt the overall cryptocurrency landscape, the US seems to be focused on individual exchanges and traders. It discourages others theoretically from handling ransomware payments, while reassuring those on top. Of course, there is just as much the government can do — exchanges that are less than reliable can simply look for partners that the U.S. cannot touch.
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial staff, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we can earn an affiliate commission.