Coming fast on the heels of the closure of the Liberty Reserve payment processing service, which used its own digital currency for transactions, another virtual currency-based business — WM-Center — has been shut down by the US government.
The e-currency exchange’s domain has been seized by the US Global Illicit Financial Team, with a warrant obtained in the district of Southern New York.
WM-Center has operated as an exchange for other digital currencies since 2005. (The Bitcoin protocol was first described by creator Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008, with the first bitcoins being mined in 2009).
As of press time, there have been no official statements on the WM-Center closure, but reports of the action were circulating on several forums and reddit. Those trying to visit WM-Center’s website are greeted by an official US government graphic stating the particulars of the warrant used to seize the domain, but nothing as to the details of the case.
According to the Bitcoin Wiki, the WM-Center exchange supported transactions in US dollars, euros, Russian rubles and Australian dollars, and “is an international company with offices and representatives in several countries, mainly Latin America and ex-USSR.”
The law U.S.C. 982 referenced above relates to “Criminal Forfeiture“. That law states the government “… shall order that the person forfeit to the United States any property constituting, or derived from, proceeds the person obtained directly or indirectly, as the result of such violation.” As such, it is questionable whether users will be able to reclaim their funds from WM-Center.
The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.