WEX cryptocurrency exchange has halted withdrawals of Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Dash for an entire week, raising fears among its users that the exchange has become insolvent. Further, WEX is still allowing deposits, so users that have not seen the warning that withdrawals are halted will find out the hard way that their money is frozen.

This is made even worse by the fact that the warning is not prominently posted on the WEX website. Instead, it is in a Twitter post that has been buried by other posts on their news feed. This has raised the suspicion that WEX is conducting an exit scam.

WEX is the successor to BTC-e, with an almost exact replica of the latter’s website looks. BTC-e was raided and shut down for alleged money laundering, with its supposed owner Alexander Vinnik wanted by multiple countries for laundering USD billions. WEX is based in Singapore but operated by Russians.

WEX’s official owner and operator, Dmitry Vassiliev, claims he has lost control of WEX and doesn’t know who is operating the exchange anymore, which makes the current situation extremely precarious for users.

Vassiliev explains that the vice president for the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies, Dmitry Sutormin, had been selling an unlimited number of WEX codes which can be redeemed for cryptocurrency on WEX. This probably explains why Bitcoin’s price on WEX is far higher than the rest of the world, since the WEX codes can be used to purchase Bitcoins, and the large amount of buying pressure from people redeeming WEX codes combined with limited amounts of Bitcoin available on WEX would force price much higher than it should be.

As of this writing on 18 July 2018, Bitcoin costs USD 9,175 on WEX and USD 7,425 on Bitfinex. Some traders might mistake this as an arbitrage opportunity and deposit on WEX, only to find out that they can’t withdraw their money.

Some are speculating that Sutormin is selling WEX codes far below their actual value and there is no real money backing them, draining the exchange’s reserves.

 

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