The BTC-E website, turned up to be never headed by Alexander Vinnik, has been seized by US criminal authorities keeping the funds away from it’s users.

The BTC-E website, that was previously displaying a breakdown for maintenance message, has now been seized by US criminal authorities. This must be horrible news for clients of the exchange that were hoping last week that the arrest of Alexander Vinnik, charged with laundering of $4B, would not affect the Bitcoin exchange.

BTC-E had told users on their site that it would be fully functional again and it would take 5-10 days for it to come back up. Previous update on Twitter, in its turn,  had suggested normal service would resume by Aug. 6, but this now appears to be considerably less likely. At the same time, funds are now being kept by the system which makes them inavailable for withdrawal.

Inaccessibility of user’s funds made them take some action to change the situation. Enthusiasts created Change.org petition that urges the Department of Justice (DOJ) to give users their money back from the exchange or at least to allow them to access them again, so they won’t lose everything they had. For security, some even tried to prove the legality of the funds stating how they earned their coins. Now the petition has around 731 supporters, and the number keeps on increasing as its shared through social media.

The petition’s text reads:

Hi, a few days ago a crypto currency exchange has been shutdown by the U.S. government and a lot of innocent people lost a lot of money in the process.
We need our money back!

This is how BTC-e’s team sees the situation :

On July 25, 11:00 the FBI staff came to the data center where our server equipment was located and seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and purses of our service.

Almost for 6 days we could not get from our hosting provider the sane information, what happened to our servers because of this information we publish only now.

July 28, the domain was confiscated.

At the moment, part of the service facility is arrested by the FBI.

The next update will be information on what options are available to restore the service, as well as the procedure for obtaining funds, in the event that the service is not started. In the current situation, if the service is not started before the end of August, Then from September 1 we will start the process of refund.
In the next 1-2 weeks, we will evaluate and publish information about how much money fell into the hands of the FBI and what amount of funds is available for return.

For all those who buried us, I will remind you that the service has always worked on trust and we are ready to answer for it.
The funds will be returned to everyone!

Arrest of the Russian Alexander Vinnik:
Officially declare – Alexander was never the head or employee of our service.

Sincerely, btc-e

So far, what will happen to the cryptocurrencies users had at BTC-e remains a mystery. Still it is out of question, that the entire process has certainly hurt the reputation of BTC-e, state of Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies generally.

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