The authorities claimed the exchanges allowed cybercriminals to flout anti-money laundering measures.
Nine digital currency exchanges allegedly aiding and abetting cybercriminals had their domains seized by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Ukrainian law enforcement.
According to a May 1 press release, the FBI’s Detroit Field Office and the National Police of Ukraine “conducted coordinated, court-authorized activity” that resulted in the shutdown and seizure of the domains of nine virtual currency exchange services.
The seized domains included the websites 24xbtc.com, 100btc.pro, pridechange.com, trust-exchange.org and bitcoin24.exchange. Each reportedly offered entirely anonymous digital currency exchange services to their users, skirting many of the rules and regulations required of licensed crypto exchanges.
Anyone attempting to access these websites will see a seizure notice from the authorities.
The FBI noted the exchanges, which offered services in both English and Russian, featured “lax” anti-money laundering measures and collected minimal KYC information or “none at all.”
The Bureau claimed these kinds of rogue, unlicenced exchanges “serve as important hubs in the cybercrime ecosystem.”
According to the agency, many of these virtual currency exchanges were “advertised on online forums dedicated to discussing criminal activity.”
“Much of the criminal activity occurring at the affected exchanges involved cyber actors responsible for ransomware, but also other scammers, and cybercriminals.”
The FBI has been involved in a number of cryptocurrency-related issues over the past few months.
On April 27, the FBI conducted a search of former FTX executive Ryan Salame’s home in relation to his role as one of Sam Bankman-Fried’s former top advisors.
On Feb. 3, the FBI seized 86.5 Ether and two nonfungible tokens (NFTs) worth more than $100,000 from a reported phishing scammer. The seizure was the result of a lengthy investigation by independent blockchain sleuth ZachXBT, who first exposed the activity on Twitter in Sept. 2022.