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Crypto money: Europol closes mixing service

Europol and authorities from the Netherlands and Luxembourg have taken the mixing service offline in a joint action. Six servers in the Netherlands and Luxembourg were seized. was among the three largest mixing services and within a year passed crypto money worth at least 200 million US dollars (the equivalent of 179 million euros). The investigation has been going on since last June, and according to Europol it was the first crackdown by authorities against such a service.

Mixing services are used to disguise payment flows for crypto money. Such a thing can be used for money laundering, but also serve the legitimate desire for more financial privacy. According to the Europol press release, however, a significant part of the funds that flowed through came from criminal activity. also advertised quite blatantly to offer a loophole from money laundering regulations. The mix was offered in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin. Around 27,000 Bitcoin were mixed via the service, which has been active since May, while Europol did not provide any information on the other currencies. No information was given about any arrests either.


The Dutch financial information and investigation service FIOD has collected extensive information about all activities on the platform - IP addresses, Bitcoin addresses, transaction details and chat logs. These should now be analyzed in detail and shared with authorities in other countries. "YOU ARE NOT ANONYMOUS" is now tellingly to read on the confiscated domain from Bestmixer.

Bitcoin and many similar cryptocurrencies are not an anonymous payment system, as is often claimed. All cash flows and balances are publicly visible in the blockchain. Users are only protected by pseudonymous Bitcoin addresses, of which you can generate as many as you like. However, if the identity behind an address is known, this can be used as a reference point for further analyzes or even criminal investigations along a chain of payments.

Freshly mixed coins

This privacy gap can at least be compensated somewhat with mixing services. Simply put, the coins of different depositors are mixed out again. So you pay the service a sum and enter one or more freshly generated addresses as the payout target. The Bitcoin value is then paid back to these addresses - usually with a certain time delay and minus the fees.

And this money is fed from the pool of coins that others have paid into the service for mixing. The coins you have paid in yourself go to other users. The aim is to obscure the chain of transactions that is otherwise traceable in the blockchain. If you are looking for anonymous payments without the crutch of a mixing service, you are better off with other crypto currencies such as Monero and Zcash than with Bitcoin. (axk)

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