Bitmixer.io, one of the largest bitcoin mixing services in the world, recently announced through Bitcointalk that it’s shutting down operations despite “huge profits”, citing a change in ideology, meaning the admins now believe that bitcoin isn’t an anonymous currency.
The service’s admin added that he believes the cryptocurrency will have “a great future without darknet market transactions”.
The post reads:
When we started this service I was convinced that any bitcoin user has a natural right to privacy. I was totally wrong. Now I grasped that bitcoin is transparent non-anonymous system by design. Blockchain is a great open book. I believe that bitcoin will have a great future without dark market transactions.
Bitmixer.io’s admin advised users to use other cryptocurrencies, like Dash and Zcash, to purchase goods from darknet markets, and ended the announcement by stating that he hopes the decision will help increase transparency in bitcoin’s ecosystem, and that the competition will follow suit and halt operations as well. He finished his message by saying that this kind of activity will soon be illegal in most countries.
According to an interview Bitmixer.io’s owner did with The Merkle in 2015, the service processed as many as 65,000 bitcoins per month. It had a clearnet website and an official Tor mirror of its service, to which users forward their funds in order to later on get “mixed bitcoins” from the pool the service owns. The goal was to increase anonymity.
The announcement comes shortly after a global operation dubbed Bayonet led to the takedown of AlphaBay, after authorities raided its servers in Canada and the U.S., and arrested its admin Alexander Cazes, a Canadian national, in Thailand. Cazes was later found dead in his cell.
Moreover, as previously covered by CCN, after darknet market users started going to other websites and flooded Hansa with new registrations, it was then revealed by a Europol press release that the marketplace was under Dutch police control for roughly a month, after its administrators were arrested. Dutch authorities gathered information on buyers and sellers, meaning follow-up arrests are expected.
Bitcoin mixing services were popular among darknet market users and vendors, as they were used to cover tracks. The announcement from Bitmixer.io comes days after it was revealed the two biggest marketplaces were busted and, as such, most users believe that the organization was pressured by law enforcement, and couldn’t admit to it. Additionally, Dutch authorities were in the past attempting to deem bitcoin mixing services as money laundering.
Responding to the speculation, the service’s admin restated that he truly changed his position on bitcoin’s privacy and believes that the cryptocurrency has no future in any illegal activity. Moreover, he rebuted the government pressure theory, stating:
The government pressure doesn’t work like “Oh man please close your service!”. No way. They just come and arrest you for illegal activity. We are the privacy experts, it is hard or impossible to find out our location and personality, our servers are located in the country where bitcoin is not considered as a currency, etc, etc. I could sell the business for our competitors for $5-6M, but I will not do this.
While most users thanked Bitmixer.io for the service provided throughout the years, others kept on claiming that law enforcement has something to do with the decision. Most users, however, point out that there will be other services filling the gap.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
Last modified: July 26, 2017 15:41 UTC