Tornado.Cash: a comparison of the first three quarters of 2022 and 2023
Tornado.Cash is the most famous and popular anonymization service based on the Ethereum network. Even after the introduction of sanctions against Tornado.Cash on August 8, 2022, it remains attractive to users in terms of gaining increased anonymity.
A comparison of the first three quarters of 2022 and 2023 are decisive for understanding the effectiveness of the sanctions imposed against the Tornado.Cash mixer.
We analyzed four Tornado.Cash pools that work with ETH:
Tornado.Cash 100 ETH
Tornado.Cash 10 ETH
Tornado.Cash 1 ETH
Tornado.Cash 0.1 ETH
Obviously, the sanctions against Tornado.Cash and the possible consequences of interacting with the mixer scared off most of the users. The following diagram shows a drop in the number of deposits in all pools in 2023 compared to 2022.
Diagram 1: Distribution of the number of deposits by pool
A similar decrease is visible in the distribution diagram of withdrawals from the corresponding Tornado.Cash pools.
Diagram 2: Distribution of the number of outputs across pools
If we compare the percentage of deposits made in the four pools under consideration, the picture has not changed much in 2023. Among the changes, it is worth noting a drop in the percentage of deposits to the Tornado.Cash 1 ETH pool by 8%. The Tornado.Cash 0.1 ETH pool remains the least popular among mixer users.
Diagram 3: Percentage of deposits accounted for by each of the four pools
Similarly, the share of withdrawals from the Tornado.Cash 1 ETH pool decreased by 6.2%. On the contrary, the share of withdrawals from the other three pools increased, especially from the Tornado.Cash 10 ETH pool by 4.4%
Diagram 4: Percentage of withdrawals from each of the four pools
The main reason for imposing sanctions against the Tornado.Cash mixer was the concern related to the use of this mixer for laundering illegally obtained funds. The dirtiest pool has always been the Tornado.Cash 100 ETH pool.
Diagram 5: Percentage shares of clean and dirty deposits in Tornado.Cash 100 ETH in 2022
In 2022, more than a quarter (26.48%) of dirty funds in the Tornado.Cash 100 ETH pool were contributed by North Korean hackers. From April to July, Lazarus sent funds stolen during the Ronin Bridge and Harmony Horizon Bridge hacks to this pool.
Diagram 6: Percentage shares of deposits in Tornado.Cash 100 ETH in 2022 associated with the Lazarus group
After the introduction of sanctions against Tornado.Cash, Lazarus stopped using this mixer and switched to the tactic of jumping on various blockchains and using Bitcoin mixers.
Although Lazarus stopped using Tornado.Cash, the decrease in the total number of deposits led to a slight increase in the concentration of dirty money in the Tornado.Cash 100 ETH pool by 1.78%.
Diagram 7: Percentage shares of clean and dirty deposits in Tornado.Cash 100 ETH in 2023
As a result, we can conclude that the decrease in absolute numbers for deposits and withdrawals is the result of sanctions against Tornado.Cash. Thus, they can be considered effective.
However, in relative terms, there is a little more dirty assets in the pool due to the large outflow of law-abiding users
It is also worth noting that some users have migrated to other anonymizing services, such as Railgun and Aztec.