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Monday, 27 May 2013 10:57

Digital currency service Liberty Reserve killed off

Written by Peter Scott

Founder arrested, fellow criminals miffed

Digital currency service Liberty Reserve is dead. The service was shut down after US and Costa Rican authorities arrested the currency’s founder Arthur Budovsky Belanchuk in Spain.

Budovsky was apparently arrested last Friday, much to the dismay of criminals and sex pests who used his service. Investigators claim Liberty Reserve was used to launder money for child porn sites and drug trafficking. Liberty Reserve first appeared on the radar as one of the first ways of converting real money into Bitcoins, but it was squeezed out of the market by other companies.

It was eventually transformed into one of the most popular forms of payment in cybercrime circles, although it was still used by some legitimate businesses and ordinary people for trading Bitcoins or sending cash. The service seems to be dead for good, along with tons of money.

The news did not go down well with cyber criminals, who vented their frustrations on underground forums, reports Venture Beat. Apparently they can’t believe someone would just seize their ill-gotten gains out of the bloom, but it seems like a case of stealing from the thieves.

Sadly though, the shutdown is not just affecting criminals, as everyone who used the service is currently unable to access their accounts and information is sketchy. It is unclear whether they will be able to get any of their cash back anytime soon. The shutdown also demonstrates the inherent risks of using unregulated digital currencies for anything other than trivial micro-transactions.

Peter Scott

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