The saga involving the BTC-E exchange just keeps thickening as we speak. Not only is the exchange still offline, its operator is in custody of law enforcement authorities. To make things worse, it now appears the domain has been seized as well. All of this diminished the chances of this exchange ever coming back online. Anyone who still has funds there will have a difficult time recuperating it.
It is anything but positive to see the BTC-E domain name seized by authorities. It appears six US law enforcement agencies are behind this action. The Secret Service is also involved, for some unknown reason. Considering how BTC-E is registered in Russia, this seizure is quite surprising. The US and Russia do not get along all that well by any means. Moreover, one can argue the US is overstepping its boundaries by quite a margin.
The end is Near for the BTC-E Exchange
Things have been unraveling quite fast for the BTC-E exchange. This past week, its alleged operator Alexander Vinnik was charged by the DOJ. Money laundering is a very serious offense, to say the least. Google reports how 95% of all ransomware proceeds were funneled through this exchange, which only makes matters worse. Ever since that time, the exchange has been under extended maintenance. Rest assured the exchange will, most likely, not come back online anytime soon. Funds locked within its wallets may not be returned either.
There is more bad news as BTC-E is also fined US$110m for its money laundering activities. The domain name has now been officially seized by law enforcement agencies as well. Among the seizing parties are Homeland Security, the US Treasury, and the Secret Service. These are not agencies anyone wants to mess around with. All of their individual roles have yet to be determined, though. It is possible we are only learning about a much bigger scheme involving this exchange and possibly other platforms as well.
It will be very interesting to see how this situation plays out. A lot of BTC-E customers are not happy with these developments, which is understandable. It is possible the exchanges wallets still hold a lot of customer funds. Then again, people should never keep funds in an exchange wallet for more than a few hours at best. You don’t control your funds when doing so, that much is once again evident. This story will keep developing over the coming weeks and we can’t wait to see what the investigation unveils next.