BTC-e Successor Wex Loses .nz Domain
Wex, the digital asset trading platform that inherited the now-defunct BTC-e exchange, has lost its wex.nz domain. According to New Zealand’s Domain Name Commission (DNC), the internet address was registered with fake contact details. Wex users have complained that they are unable to withdraw their funds from the platform.
Domain Registry Takes Down Wex Sites
Other than wex.nz, the DNC has suspended a number of domain names — wexbet.nz, wexcash.nz, wexcoin.nz, wxcash.nz and wxcoin.nz — that lead to the same cryptocurrency website. The suspensions came after the regulator conducted inquiries into the accuracy of the registration details that were provided for each of the domains, following numerous complaints.
In an announcement published this past Monday, Nov. 19, the commission noted that the individual who registered the domain names failed to verify their contact information. The organization said that valid contact details are a prerequisite for all holders of .nz domain names. It further explained:
The Domain Name Commission has suspended the domain names for fake registration details in accordance with enforcing data validation measures under the .nz Principles and Responsibilities policy. The Commission wants .nz to be a safe, trusted and secure domain name space which is supported by its data validation process.
New Zealand’s domain registry has urged any individuals or entities that have been affected by the cancellation of the Wex domains to contact law enforcement agencies if they suspect fraudulent or criminal activity. They can also file reports with Netsafe, an independent body focused on providing a safe online environment for internet users in the country.
1 BTC for $8,500
Despite the setback, the cryptocurrency exchange has come back online again and is now hosted on a new domain, Russian news outlet Bitsmedia has reported. “Please use our mirror wex.link,” the trading platform posted on its official Twitter page. That’s one of only several updates it has tweeted in recent months, including a couple of warnings about fake sites with similar addresses, such as wex.ac and wex.mn, as well as a message about the listing of monero (XMR) from August and some updates about maintenance-related interruptions in July.
“Wow! At least you tweeted something after three months,” wrote one person in response to Wex’s tweet about its new web address. Indeed, its administrators have been pretty quiet since the summer, when many users started complaining that they were unable to withdraw funds from the platform. Only a few coins, such as XMR and ZEC, are now available for withdrawals, but their liquidity is extremely low.
A number of complaints have been filed against the exchange with the Russian police since August. Users who have lost money have created a website, wex-scam.com, as well as a couple of Telegram channels, to support each other and share the latest available information. According to a post from Oct. 21, 35 individuals have already filed requests with the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs to initiate a criminal investigation against Wex.
Customers had previously raised the alarm about the cryptocurrency trading platform’s high exchange rates. At the time of writing, the buy price for 1 BTC on its website was $8,498, which suggests that the exchange was probably not operating. On the other hand, the recent announcement about its new domain, shortly after the suspension of wex.nz, indicates that its administrators are still active.
The BTC-e Saga
Wex is the successor to BTC-e, Russia’s oldest cryptocurrency exchange. It was established in 2011 and remained a leading trading platform for the Russian-speaking crypto community until last summer. BTC-e then went offline following the arrest of its suspected co-owner, Alexander Vinnik, in Greece in July 2017.
Vinnik has been accused of a number of crimes by U.S. prosecutors. They allege that he laundered $4 billion through the exchange, including bitcoins that were stolen in the Mt Gox hack. Authorities in the U.S., the Russian Federation and France have requested his extradition.
BTC-e has always denied any connection with Vinnik. The platform was relaunched under the Wex name in mid-September 2017. The new company, which is registered in Singapore, has also denied having any links with the owners of the operator of BTC-e, Canton Business Corp., an entity that is based in the Seychelles.
However, Wex has agreed to compensate BTC-e clients who have suffered losses. Dmitriy Vasiliev, Wex’s owner and director, has reportedly negotiated the purchase of BTC-e, its infrastructure and remaining assets. The new platform has kept the old interface and even the original accounts of BTC-e users.