- Tristan Thompson disables Instagram comments after reports he cheated on Khloe Kardashian 6 Years Ago
- Introducing ‘boner culture,’ this Gamergate blogger’s latest cause 6 Years Ago
- HBO debuts trailer for controversial Michael Jackson doc ‘Leaving Neverland’ Today 10:46 AM
- Christian woman refuses to do taxes for lesbian married couple Today 10:43 AM
- Political campaigns will be snooping on your phones in 2020 Today 10:43 AM
- How to get the first Apex Legends Twitch Prime pack for free Today 10:28 AM
- Mother discovers YouTube Kids video that encourages self-harm Today 10:14 AM
- Bernie Sanders’ messed-up map of the U.S. is his first campaign flub Today 10:05 AM
- Woman starts a whites-only yoga club to prove the wrong point about racism Today 10:01 AM
- John Mayer steps in to Photoshop Diplo’s Instagram Today 9:28 AM
- Venmo is flagging payments that mention ‘Persian’ Today 9:17 AM
- YouTube’s Slo Mo Guys inspired a key moment in ‘Solo’ Today 9:14 AM
- Trump unveils ‘workshopped’ nickname for Bernie Sanders Today 8:16 AM
- This Kickstarter needs $4,000 to digitally erase the rat from ‘The Departed’ Today 8:07 AM
- Welcome to Bernie 2020 Twitter, same as Bernie 2016 Twitter Today 7:39 AM
Homeland Security seizes account from world’s biggest bitcoin exchange
Dwolla payments to and from Mt. Gox, the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange, are on hold.
The Department of Homeland Security has seized the funds that the Bitcoin exchange, Mt. Gox had on Dwolla, the American e-payments company.
“The Department of Homeland Security and U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland issued a ‘Seizure Warrant’ for the funds associated with Mutum Sigillium’s Dwolla account (a.k.a. Mt. Gox),” a Dwolla rep told Betabeat. “In light of the court order, procured by the Department of Homeland Security, Dwolla has ceased all account activities associated with Dwolla services for Mutum Sigillum while Dwolla’s holding partner transferred Mutum Sigillium’s balance, per the warrant.”
Dwolla users now receive a message when attempting to access their accounts.
Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told CNET’s Declan McCullagh that “In order not to compromise this ongoing investigation being conducted by ICE Homeland Security Investigations Baltimore, we cannot comment beyond the information in the warrant, which was filed in the District of Maryland earlier today.”
ICE’s purview is far broader than their name suggests.
Their 7,000 agents in 200 cities investigate “drug smuggling, financial crimes, computer crimes, and export enforcement” wrote CNET. “That has included seizing Internet domain names, targeting sports streaming sites, and arresting a student for jailbreaking game consoles.”
On their Facebook page, Mt. Gox responded, saying “we have not been provided with a copy of the court order and/or warrant, and do not know its scope and/or the reasons for its issuance.”
The seizure is a distinct blow to Dwolla. As Bitcoinnews noted, “Camp BX, based in the U.S., is the only other market exchange that allows accounts to be funded with Dwolla and performs withdrawal of USD balances to Dwolla. FastCash4Bitcoins performs cash-out service to Dwolla.”
What is the point of the seizure? Terrorism comes to mind, as some have expressed fear that Bitcoin is being used by terrorists, as it has been by drug enthusiasts.
Others have suggested this is the first battle in a campaign against the largely unregulated cyber-currency economy, one which is likely to see its front line along the fault between users and the currency, that is, at the exchanges that handle transfer between fiat currencies and bitcoins.
DHS did not return request for comment by press time.
UPDATE: According to the seizure warrant, DHS shut down Mt. Gox’s account because the company failed to register Mutum Sigillum, LLC as a “money services business.” As the Daily Dot has previously reported, the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) declared that Bitcoin businesses are money services businesses in a report earlier this year.
Here’s the actual warrant served to Dwolla, via Gawker:
Curt Hopkins has over two decades of experience as a journalist, editorial strategist, and social media manager. His work has been published by Ars Technica, Reuters, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle. He is the also founding director of the Committee to Protect Bloggers, the first organization devoted to global free speech rights for bloggers