Crypto users, you’ve been warned: don’t try to hide your assets.
On Wednesday, Europol announced that the Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service (FIOD) has taken down “multi-million Euro cryptocurrency laundering service” Bestmixer.io in what they described as “the first law enforcement action of its kind against such a crypto mixer service.”
The crackdown, a joint operation between FIOD, Europol and Luxembourg authorities, was initiated in June 2018 after internet security company McAfee flagged Bestmixer’s services. As a result, police seized six servers in the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
Bestmixer is considered to be one of the three largest crypto mixers in operation to date, offering mixing services for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Litecoin (LTC). Crypto mixing services, also referred to as crypto tumblers, are anonymity tools that allow users to combine their crypto funds with others, which, in turn, makes it difficult to track the fund’s original source.
Bestmixer reportedly achieved a turnover of at least $200 million since it launched its operations in May 2018. However, authorities discovered that the crypto mixer “was probably used to conceal or launder criminal flows of money” after the investigation showed that “many of the mixed cryptocurrencies on Bestmixer.io had a criminal origin or destination.”
John Fokker, head of cyber investigations for McAfee Advanced Threat Research, noted in a blog post how Bestmixer has been very clear “why someone should mix their cryptocurrency.” He wrote:
“On this page Bestmixer described the current anti-money laundering policies and how its service could help evade these policies by making funds anonymous and untraceable. Offering such a service is considered illegal in many countries.”
CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans said Bestmixer not only blatantly advertised its money laundering services,