BTC-e Again Promises Refunds, but Says It’s Under US Pressure
Beleaguered exchange BTC-e has stated again it plans to relaunch and offer refunds. It is also promising daily updates starting from 30th August.
Similar to other recent updates, a message was posted on the BitcoinTalk message board in Russian, using an account historically associated with the company. The (Google translated) post noted BTC-e is still under pressure from U.S. authorities:
The next update is August 30, and from August 31 updates will be posted daily.
To date, there is a process of transfer of digital resources to an investment company.
The company is preparing the resource for launch.
As it was announced earlier, at startup users will be able to withdraw 55% of the funds.
We want to notify all users that there is a political background in closing our service and pressure from the US.
The poster also responded to user complaints that called the situation “a circus” and accused BTC-e of stealing customer funds. “It would have been possible to give up earlier,” they replied.
Uncertainty Surrounds BTC-e and User Refunds
A joint action by six U.S. federal government authorities took BTC-e offline in late July 2017 and arrested purported administrator Alexander Vinnik in Greece. FinCEN issued the company a civil fine of $110 million USD for alleged money laundering.
The company later claimed Vinnik did not run the site.
BTC-e had operated since July 2011 and was one of cryptocurrency’s most popular. However its operators remained anonymous, and it never complied with international KYC/AML regulations for account holders. This allegedly made it popular with criminals and money-launderers.
A large number of the site’s users were regular traders, who remain outraged that the U.S. government could simply confiscate their funds. Despite the owners’ anonymity, BTC-e had earned a high degree of user trust.
The BTC-e account had previously posted an update on 31st July, stating it would start a process to refund customer balances if it was unable to relaunch the exchange by 1st September. However given the authorities involved in taking it offline and the attention it would receive, it seems unlikely BTC-e could function normally as an exchange again.
Any move to offer refunds is likely to trigger a run on its wallets, as users attempt to send funds elsewhere.
What do you think will happen to users’ funds? Let’s hear your thoughts.
Images via BTC-e, Pixabay