On July 28, 2017, the bitcoin-exchange BTC-e domain was seized by six U.S. law enforcement agencies including the Secret Service. Many international bitcoin proponents are questioning why the U.S. is claiming jurisdiction over an exchange registered in another country.
Last week we reported on the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) charges against the alleged operator of the exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik. The agency has charged Vinnik with nineteen counts of illegal money transmission and money laundering. According to the indictment Vinnik and the bitcoin trading platform, BTC-e helped launder over $4B in illicit funds since 2011. Since Vinnik’s arrest, the website BTC-e has had an “Under Maintenance” static page showing up when visiting the trading platform’s domain.
Bitcoiners worldwide wondered what would happen to the exchange that stopped operating a few days before Vinnik’s detention. According to the DOJ charges, the trading platform faces a fine of $110M, but no one was sure if the site was officially closed. Now visitors of the website see a seizure notice when visiting the domain. The site says the seizure is pursuant to its warrant and was issued by U.S. Homeland Security, the DOJ, the Treasury, the Inspector General, and the nation’s Secret Service.
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