The FBI has seized nine cryptocurrency exchanges allegedly involved in money laundering connected to ransomware payments.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has taken over 24xbtc.com, 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, 101crypta.com, uxbtc.com, trust-exchange.org, bitcoin24.exchange, paybtc.pro, and owl.gold.
The servers of these exchanges were shut down, and US authorities seized their domain names. These exchanges were accused of offering anonymous cryptocurrency exchange services to website visitors, including cyber-criminals, scammers, and other bad actors
The crackdown resulted from investigations into cybercrime activities involving ransomware payments, where these exchanges played a vital role. The exchanges were also found to have a lax anti-money laundering program or collect minimal know-your-customer (KYC) information or none at all. The report notes that these exchanges violated Title 18 United States Code, Sections 1960 and 1956.
The affected exchanges’ services were advertised on online forums to discuss criminal activity, knowingly supporting their clients’ illicit deals and becoming co-conspirators in illegal schemes. The services’ website offered support in both Russian and English, making it easier for cyber-criminals worldwide to use them.
Waging war against bad actors
The FBI’s move to take down these exchanges shows that it is actively fighting cybercrime and money laundering in cryptocurrency. With the increased use of cryptocurrency in illegal activities, such as ransomware payments, authorities are working to prevent these exchanges from operating and make it harder for cyber-criminals to launder their money.
The seizure of these nine domains sends a strong message to other cryptocurrency exchanges operating illegally. The FBI has warned that anyone involved in unlicensed money service businesses and facilitating money laundering would face the total weight of the law. Visitors to the affected sites will now find a seizure banner that notifies them that federal authorities have seized the domain name
The FBI’s investigation is ongoing, and more exchanges involved in cybercrime activities are likely to be targeted. The agency has urged the public to report any suspicious cryptocurrency activities to help in the fight against cybercrime.