Bitcoin Blender, a foremost cryptocurrency “tumbler and mixing service,” has allegedly closed its doors, after the company sent an abrupt notice to its users to withdraw their funds.
The shutdown was said to have been announced on the Dark Web site’s homepage, as well as on the BitcoinTalk Forum earlier this week. As seen in the report, just over the homepage was the message, “Bitcoin Blender is shutting down. Please withdraw.”
The news of this seeming shutdown was first reported by tech news medium BleepingComputer on Thursday. Per the report, Bitcoin Blender’s on both the Dark Web and the clearnet were inaccessible before they were taken down. Before both sites shut down, they featured a message explaining what the company does.
“We are a hidden service that mixes your Bitcoins to remove the link between you and your transactions. This adds an essential layer of anonymity to your online activity to protect against ‘Blockchain Analysis.”
While the platform gave users a grace period to get their funds out, a couple of users seemed to have missed the window provided to move their funds and are now stuck trying to make withdrawals.
Primarily, “coin tumblers” (or “mixers,” if you will) work by collecting funds from numerous users, gathering them in a place, thereby creating a set of new transactions to help keep the assets hidden.
They usually make money by charging fees to users, who make payments in addition to the money sent. After a short while, the users get their original cash from a new, anonymous address. Just like that, the money’s cleaned.
EU Authorities Shut Bestmixer Down
Another popular Bitcoin tumbler- known as Bestmixer- was shut down last week in a collaborative crackdown effort by the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) and Europol.
In a press release published last Wednesday, Europol confirmed that they had been investigating Bestmixer since last year, working with IT companies such as security firm antivirus manufacturer McAfee Security. As part of the crackdown, up to six servers belonging to the service were seized across Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
According to the press release from the agency, Bestmixer was “mixing” funds which had criminal sources or destinations. The service was also accused of working with money launderers and other unsavory characters to keep their loot hidden. Europol also pointed out that Bestmixer was one of the three largest cryptocurrency mixing services at the time, as it had helped its user “mix” up to 27,000 BTC and was operating with a $200 million turnover rate since its launch a little over a year ago.
A month of Europol crackdowns
Europol also teamed up with the German Federal Criminal Police to shoot down The Wall Street Market, one of the largest platforms on the Dark Web.
Per the Europol press release on the matter, three suspects were also apprehended by German authorities in a raid that yielded items such as luxury cars, hard drives, computers, $615,000 in cash, and both BTX and Monero (XRM) tokens worth “six figures.”
The agency pointed out that there are over a million registered users on The Wall Street Market, of which about 5,400 deal in stolen data, drugs, malicious software, and forged documents.