The regulator claims that Harmon operated Helix from 2014 to 2017 and Coin Ninja from 2017 to 2020 and that both were unregistered money services. Helix alone reportedly conducted over 1,225,000 transactions for its customers and was associated with virtual currency wallet addresses that sent or received over $311 million. The announcement reads:
When is bitcoin mixing a crime?
Hint: when it’s directly linked to laundering illicit proceeds on darknet markets
Bitcoin mixers, or tumblers, have been around for years. The way they work is you send bitcoin to a service and the service scrambles your bitcoin with other bitcoins, so that in the end, it’s difficult to know the source of the funds—even though the transactions are visible on the blockchain.