The long run of Bitcoin Blender cryptocurrency mixing service has reached an end this week as the business quickly shut down after a short announcement on the website’s front page that asked customers to withdraw their funds.
This is the second such service to fall in about a week, albeit it appears Bitcoin Blender did it on its own terms. Last week, Bestmixer, one of the largest cryptocurrency mixing services fell at the hand of law enforcement, fell at the hands of law enforcement.
Mixing or tumbling cryptocurrency, mostly bitcoin, is a method to hide ownership of the funds by mingling them with other people’s money, and even converting them to other digital currency.
What this essentially achieves is hide the ownership of the coins. For this effort, the service gets a commission typically between 1% and 3% of the total amount it tumbled.
Bitcoin Blender has been around since 2014 and this week it closed down. The action was quick and with no explanation to the users. It is unclear if the decision was planned ahead or an impulse triggered by Bestmixer’s fall.
The move comes on the backdrop of attorneys and law enforcement constantly mentioning that the service prevented tracing criminals that used it.
One thing is clear: the admin gave users the possibility to get their funds out before servers went down.
“Jesus, after just losing $3500 to Empire I just had a customer send me $2000 to a bitblender address. Fortunately I got it off right before they posted the message. Moving around coin is getting so hard! Everywhere you turn you are about to lose coin,” writes one user of the service.
Apart from announcing the decision on the front page of the websites on the Tor network, the news was also posted on the BitCoin Talk forum.
The post came at the beginning of the week, on Monday, from forum user Blender, associated with Bitcoin Blender mixing service, as visible from their profile page.
At the moment, Bitcoin Blender’s Tor-hidden server, where cryptocurrency was stored, is no longer accessible. The clearnet website, where users could get information about the service, is still up and running.
Ripples in the community
The announcement stirred the community, some of the users commending the way Bitcoin Blender chose to go out, “on their terms in an orderly fashion,” and thanking for the services provided over the years.
Others started to ask around about alternative bitcoin tumblers, an expected reaction, and they got their answers from services jumping in to fill the gap.
Some of the replies also offered advice against using tumbling services, which may still attract trouble, and pushed for moving to the Monero cryptocurrency because lack of a public transaction ledger makes it more difficult to track.