UPDATE: Greek police have arrested 38-year-old russian citizen Alexander Vinnik – a key person behind the BTC-e crypto-currency exchange – on suspicion of money laundering. Mr. Vinnik was arrested in northern Greece at the request of US law enforcement and is accused of laundering at least $4 billion, according to a Reuters report. Coinspeaker will continue monitoring this story.
It always causes a great concern when a cryptocurrency exchange breaks down. Usually the reason for that is planned maintenance. However, outage of BTC-E exchange, Russia-based trading platform, must have been caused by a different reason. The exchange is undergoing some unscheduled maintenance, as the BTC-E’s representatives claim. It appears a data center issue is the main reason for this downtime right now.
Multiple hacks have been affecting this platform since its foundation in 2011. Moreover, they undergo maintenance on a regular basis, which means its users are so to say used to these planned outages and experience downtime on multiple occasions. This latest breakdown, however, is a little bit more bewildering than others, as it is actually not planned at all. This lack of planning usually causes a lot of rumors to arise, and this case is not an exception.
Reddit users actively comment on this topic, using hashtag #btce. They assume that the exchange might have been closed or hacked. Also, they suppose that some criminals could have got access to bitcoin wallets.
Twitter users see things in the similar way stating that unknown hackers have laundered around $169M out of several bitcoin wallets.
The last tweet published by BTC-E more than 20 hours ago says:
“We are still continue to perform our unscheduled ongoing maintenance. Will keep you updated. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Of course, a lot of cryptocurrency users are not too pleased about this situation. For now, it is the only exchange suffering from such issues. The fact they do not have a backup solution for this data center maintenance issue is quite worrisome, though. This serves a good example demonstrating that exchanges need to work on backup solutions as well. Outages like these will always cause market panic, that much is evident.
Meanwhile, Greek authorities have arrested a Russian wanted in the United States suspected of money laundering of at least $4B through bitcoin transactions. Some Reddit commentors assume that the two events may be somehow connected.
38-year-old, who has not been officially named, was arrested in cooperation with US authorities. All the electronic equipment was seized from his hotel room.
Greek police said he is the head of a criminal organization that owns, operates and manages “one of the largest cybercrime websites in the world.”
Google, in its turn, warns various forms of cybercrimes, which develop continually and become more and more profitable. The most recent and also the most popular ransomwares include well-known Locky and Cerber, created in 2016, which with a handful of lesser ransomware families made in excess of $2.5 million every month. The figures look really astronomical if compared to WannaCry ($140,000), and NotPetya ($10,000), both of which might have been produced by Russian hackers.
It’s interesting when speaking about ways for cashing out, 95 per cent of ransom funds were cashed out at the Russian exchange BTC-E. That indicates the fact that the biggest ransomware types are the produce of the biggest organized criminal gangs working out of Russia.
Meantime, upcoming August 1 Bitcoin split causes seven percent drop in BTC and ETH prices to below $2,500 and $200 correspondingly.
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