Bitcoin mixing service BitMixer announced Saturday that it was shutting down its operations effective immediately. In a statement on the Bitcointalk forum, the service’s administrator cited altruism as the reason for the action. He wrote:
“I hope our decision will help to make [the] Bitcoin ecosystem more clean and transparent. I hope our competitors will hear our message and will close their services too.”
Bitcoin mixing services help users mask identities behind their transactions on the blockchain. Because the blockchain is public, analysis can determine a user’s identity and financial history. This makes mixing services popular with those purchasing illicit items such as drugs on dark net markets.
DarkNetMarkets, a site dedicated to dark web content, listed BitMixer as one of the four best mixers in 2017. Online financial technology magazine The Merkle ranked it second in a list of the most reliable mixing services.
In the early days of Bitcoin, the general belief was that cryptocurrency was anonymous and that it left no traces of the user’s identity. This premise gave rise to dark web ecommerce sites, where users could pay for goods and services without needing to use their personal ID (in the form of a bank account or credit card).Link to dark market shutdowns
The BitMixer shutdown came just three days after a joint effort by law enforcement agencies from the U.S., Europe, and Thailand to shut down AlphaBay and Hansa, two major darknet online markets for selling drugs. Several users and administrators were identified and arrested in the process. Police also seized millions of assets believed to be proceeds from drug sales.
On 5 July, AlphaBay’s administrator, 26-year-old Canadian Alexandre Cazes, committed suicide shortly after being arrested in Thailand.
BitMixer’s voluntary shutdown by its administrator has raised eyebrows, especially after he explained in his Bitcointalk statement that t...