Authorities in the Netherlands have shut down and confiscated Bitcoins from a popular Bitcoin mixing service provider, Bestmixer.io. On May 22, a joint effort between the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD), Europol, and Luxembourg authorities confiscated Bestmixer’s assets, files, web domain, and documents.
The raid of the Bitcoin mixing service provider was initiated in June 2018 by the FIOD with support from the internet security company, McAfee. Europol stated that an investigation was carried out into the site that offered a way for Bitcoin users to increase the anonymity of Bitcoin transactions.
Bestmixer was one of the largest mixing services for cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash and Litecoin. The service stated in May 2018 and achieved a turnover of at least $20 million (approximately 27000 bitcoins) in a year. The customer remains anonymous.
Multiple coin mixers exist while it appears the focus on Bestmixer came as a result of suspicions about its genesis and operations.
A press release states that:
“The investigation so far into this case has shown that many of the mixed cryptocurrencies on Bestmixer.io had a criminal origin or destination. In these cases, the mixer was probably used to conceal and launder criminal flows of money.”
The law enforcement message on the seized domain struck a conspicuously more sinister tone, like threatening frequent Bitcoin users.
It’s still unknown whether the individuals who made use of the Bestmixer will be arrested. According to Europol, vetting will not only be on financial records but also other correspondence between the clients and the company.
The Dutch FIOD gathered all the information on the interaction on this platform in the past year. The information includes transaction details, IP addresses, chat messages, and Bitcoin addresses.
The information will be analysed by the FIOD in cooperation with Europol; then the intelligence packages will be shared with other countries.
Sjors Provoost, a Dutch software developer, called the takedown a worrying precedent. He also added that “Banning mixers is akin to banning cryptography.”
Do you think the seizure of the Bitcoin mixing service will reduce the usage of crypto mixers?
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