Do you ever wonder if your cryptocurrency platform cashes in ransomware payments? Maybe not, but it might be worth investigating. Bitcoin-associated ransomware continues to plague companies, government agencies and individuals with no signs of letting up. And if your platform gets sanctioned, you may instantly lose access to all your funds. What exchanges or platforms do criminals use to cash out or launder ransomware payments? And what implications does this have for people who use exchanges legitimately? Between 2014 and 2017, the BTC-e crypto exchange allegedly cashed out nearly 95% of all ransomware payments worldwide. Feds asserted that BTC-e ringleader Alexander Vinnik also played a role in the theft of about 800,000 bitcoin (about $400 million at the time) from the Japanese Mt. Gox exchange. Eventually, the U.S. government indicted Vinnik, who was sentenced to five years in jail. BTC-e eventually shut down, along with all its accounts. Meanwhile, many legitimate BTC-e customer account holders remained stuck in limbo. Then came SUEX, the OTC cryptocurrency broker reportedly receiving $160 million from ransomware and other scammers. In 2021, the U.S. Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) placed the Russia-based broker on the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List. Americans are prohibited from doing business with any company on the SDN list.
Full story : How to Spot a Nefarious Cryptocurrency Platform.