9 Crypto Exchange Domains Shutdown by FBI, Ukraine Police—but Why?

9 Crypto Exchange Domains Shutdown by FBI, Ukraine Police—but Why?

The domains of nine virtual currency exchange firms that were allegedly involved in aiding and abetting cybercriminals were reportedly shut down by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Police of Ukraine. 

According to a news release issued on May 1, the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and Ukrainian law enforcement carried out coordinated, court-authorized operations that resulted in the seizure of these digital currency exchanges’ domain names.

Cybercriminals Exploited Seized Domains

Cointelegraph tells us that the exchanges allegedly provided utterly anonymous digital currency trading services to their users, circumventing many laws and restrictions licensed crypto exchanges must follow. 

24xbtc.com, 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, 101crypta.com, uxbtc.com, trust-exchange.org, bitcoin24.exchange, paybtc.pro, and owl.gold were among the domains seized by police. 

According to reports, these exchanges were made public on online forums dedicated to discussing illegal activities, with many of them involving ransomware, scammers, and other cyber criminals.

Shutting Down Cybercrime Hubs

According to the FBI, these rogue, unauthorized transactions “serve as important hubs in the cybercrime ecosystem.” The exchanges allegedly had “lax” anti-money laundering safeguards and collected little or no Know Your Customer information.

The FBI also notes that virtual currency exchangers knowingly supported their clients’ unlawful actions by offering their services and became co-conspirators in criminal schemes.

We are also informed that visitors trying to access these websites will now see a seizure notice from the authorities. This sign will tell them that federal authorities have seized the domain name and that operating an unlicensed money service business and facilitating money laundering is a federal crime. 

Big Crypto Hauls from the FBI

Over the last few months, the FBI has been involved in several cryptocurrency-related issues and cracking down on illegal activities associated with the virtual currency market.

Last month, an Ohio man was sentenced to 51 months in prison for stealing over 712 bitcoin that were the proceeds of the darknet bitcoin mixer Helix and subject to forfeiture in a then-pending criminal case. 

Helix laundered over 350,000 bitcoin valued at over $300 million at the time of the transactions on behalf of customers, with the largest volume coming from Darknet markets. 

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Law enforcement seized various assets, including a cryptocurrency storage device containing the illegal proceeds generated through the operation of Helix, which was subject to forfeiture in the criminal case.

Additionally, the US Department of Justice has also recently seized virtual currency worth $112 million linked to cryptocurrency investment scams, known as “pig butchering.”

Judges in Los Angeles authorized the seizure warrants for six virtual currency accounts in the District of Arizona and Idaho. 

In one case, a US magistrate judge authorized the seizure of an account containing approximately $66.4 million in various cryptocurrencies, which was believed to have been derived from wire fraud schemes.

According to court documents, the six virtual currency accounts were used to launder the proceeds of various cryptocurrency confidence scams. 

The fraudsters used the accounts to cultivate long-term, online relationships with victims, eventually enticing them to invest in fraudulent cryptocurrency trading platforms. 

Instead of investing the funds, the scammers diverted them to cryptocurrency addresses and accounts under their control.

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