The BTC-e account has posted an update on BitcoinTalk, promising users it will start a refund process if it is unable to restart the exchange by 1st September. It’s the first word from the company since the site went offline and its purported administrator Alexander Vinnik was arrested in Greece.
It’s the first positive sign the exchange’s legitimate users have seen in days. Their hopes began to crumble on 28th July when a “seized domain” notice appeared on btc-e.com, with the badges of the various U.S. government agencies instrumental in its takedown.
There was also a report yesterday that over $100 million USD worth of ETH had moved from a BTC-e wallet, to an unknown destination.
Curiously, the announcement also claimed arrested Vinnik was “never the head or employee of our service”.
BTC-e Posts Update in Russian, Says Account Holders Will Be OK
The account “btc-e.com” posted on 31st July in BitcoinTalk‘s Russia Local section, in Russian. It said (Google translation):
“On July 25, 11:00 FBI staff came to the data center where our server equipment was located and seized all equipment, the servers contained databases and wallets of our service.”
The company said it had taken six days to obtain information from its hosting provider on what had happened to the servers.
In a sign of optimism, btc-e.com said it would provide further information on options to resture the service in its next update. If staff are unable to restore the exchange before the end of August, it said, it would begin a refund process instead.
“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!”
It did not specify whether this included all cryptocurrency and fiat funds, or where they might be located.
Staff are still determining just how much money the FBI was able to seize. It’s possible agents were only able to confiscate BTC-e’s “hot wallets”, leaving most user funds untroubled.
UK Law Firm Offers to Assist Legitimate Users
On another note, London-based “boutique litigation firm” Selachii LLP says it will act on a pro bono basis for BTC-e’s “honest and legitimate clients”. In a message posted to its website, the firm said it could help recover cryptocurrency and fiat funds. It added:
“We are convinced there are many tens of thousands of law abiding and legally compliant users, who are now in distress by having used one of the industry’s longest standing, and easy to use Bitcoin/Cryptocoin exchanges.”
The firm also claimed to be on contact with the relevant authorities and invited interested parties to contact them.
Are you a BTC-e user? Are you more optimistic or pessimistic about your money? Let us know.
Images via Pixabay, U.S. Federal Government