Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange Bitzlato has begun processing withdrawals of digital assets belonging to its customers. The trading platform was shut down in an operation carried out by law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Europe alleging that it had been used to launder dirty money.
Bitzlato Allows Withdrawals After Staying Offline for Weeks
Users who have deposited funds to Bitzlato can now start to withdraw their coins, the recently seized crypto exchange said in a Telegram message. The announcement comes after a period of over a month during which the trading platform was unavailable.
The Hong Kong-registered exchange, better known to Russian-speaking traders, was taken down in a coordinated law enforcement operation in January when French authorities took control of its website and their American colleagues arrested its co-founder Anatoly Legkodymov.
The U.S. Justice Department believes Bitzlato has processed over $700 million in funds from criminal entities such as the darknet market Hydra and the Russian crypto pyramid scheme Finiko. According to Europol, it exchanged over $1 billion of illicit money.
“We were gone for 42 long days, but we are back. A lot of work has been done to ensure that your data is safe and the coins are in your wallets,” Bitzlato said in the post. It also insisted it had been used as “a bargaining chip in backstage games.”
In late January, four more members of its team, including three executives, were arrested in European countries. The other Bitzlato co-founder, Anton Shkurenko, was briefly detained, questioned, and released by Russian police in February.
Prior to that, Shkurenko announced in an interview on Youtube that Bitzlato intends to relocate to Russia and restore operations and withdrawals from there. He also said that French investigators had seized Bitzlato’s hot wallet with over a third of its assets and remarked that the withdrawals were going to be partial in the beginning.
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Lubomir Tassev is a journalist from tech-savvy Eastern Europe who likes Hitchens’s quote: “Being a writer is what I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.
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On Tuesday, March 3, Crypto Exchange Bitzlato announced that it had successfully restored access to user funds that had been locked away since December. This marked a huge victory for the exchange, which was the victim of a hack that resulted in the theft of over $2 million in cryptocurrency.
The exchange had suffered a security breach in December when hackers were able to gain access to its internal systems. As a result, the exchange was forced to suspend operations in order to investigate the hack and secure its systems. User funds were frozen during this period, leaving customers unable to access their money.
However, the exchange has now resumed operations and has successfully restored access to user funds. Bitzlato CEO Vasily Sumanov said in a statement that the exchange had taken the necessary measures to restore customers’ funds and ensure that their assets were secure.
The news of the hack had shocked the crypto community and prompted calls for greater security measures in the industry. In response to the attack, Bitzlato has put in place a number of measures to strengthen its security. These include improved encryption, enhanced security protocols, and increased monitoring of its networks.
The restoration of user funds is an important step forward for the exchange and its customers. With the exchange now secure and customers’ funds accessible, Bitzlato can continue to offer crypto services in a secure and reliable environment.
This incident is a reminder of the importance of security in the crypto space. It is essential that exchanges take the appropriate measures to protect user funds and ensure that hacks are prevented and funds are secure.