Crypto Exchange Bitzlato Restores User Access to Half of Bitcoin Balances, Report
Bitzlato users can now partially withdraw their bitcoin funds from the dismantled cryptocurrency exchange, according to a media report. The Russia-linked trading platform was targeted by Western law enforcement and had its France-based server infrastructure seized in January.
Bitzlato Customers Allowed to Withdraw Up to 50% of Their Bitcoin at the Exchange
Users of Bitzlato’s web portal and app can now withdraw a portion of the funds they had with the crypto exchange when it was busted by French and U.S. authorities in mid-January. Since Monday, its clients have access to half of their bitcoin (BTC) balances.
Account holders can withdraw up to 50% of their bitcoins, Bitzlato representatives told the Russian-language crypto news outlet Forklog. The minimum withdrawal amount is 0.001 BTC and the commission is 0.0003 BTC, the report detailed.
Withdrawals can be ordered through a Telegram bot and users need to provide the email address of their Bitzlato account, the article explained. Upon verification, a code necessary to complete the transfer is generated and sent to that email inbox.
The Hong Kong-registered exchange was dismantled based on allegations that it processed more than $700 million dollars’ worth of illicit funds, as the U.S. Justice Department announced, or over $1 billion, according to Europol.
The dirty money was allegedly related to various criminal activities and actors, including the former largest darknet market Hydra, which was shut down by Germany in April, and Russia’s biggest crypto pyramid scheme, Finiko.
Bitzlato co-founder and majority owner Anatoly Legkodymov, a Russian national residing in China, was arrested in Miami. Four more members of Bitzlato’s team were detained in Europe while another co-founder, Anton Shkurenko, was questioned and released in Russia.
In an interview on Youtube, Shkurenko had announced plans to relocate the exchange to Russia and relaunch operations from there. He also promised to partially restore withdrawals despite French law enforcement having seized the platform’s hot wallet.
According to a survey conducted among almost 3,300 respondents in Bitzlato’s news channel on Telegram, 30% of users are withdrawing funds without issues, 3% experienced short-term asset freezes, the money of another 4% is still blocked, 12% are yet to decide how to withdraw, and more than half of the polled intend to wait for the platform’s peer-to-peer market to reopen.
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