Feeds

Feds stamp on cash pipeline to Mt Gox, Bitcoin's Wall Street

Warrant served on account used to transfer crypto-dosh

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Department of Homeland Security has frozen an online trade route between US citizens and Mt. Gox - the world's largest exchange of crypto-currency Bitcoin.

The move will be interpreted as an opening skirmish in a battle to control the electronic cash, which has exploded in popularity and so far avoided regulation by governments.

The feds confirmed an investigation is underway after it emerged a "seizure warrant" was filed against Dwolla, a US-only mobile payments service used by Bitcoin traders.

Netizens can exchange dollars and bitcoins on Mt. Gox via a Dwolla account held by Mutum Sigillum LLC. The warrant against the Mutum account effectively halted transfers of money between the popular bitcoin exchange and Dwolla users.

Iowa startup Dwolla admitted yesterday it can no longer process cash payments to Mt. Gox's intermediary Mutum Sigillum. Any cash awaiting transfer between Dwolla and bitcoin converter Mt. Gox will be refunded.

This morning Mt Gox released this statement:

Like many who have contacted us, MtGox has read on the Internet that the United States Department of Homeland Security had a court order and/or warrant issued from the United States District Court in Maryland which it served upon the Dwolla mobile payment service with respect to accounts used for trading with MtGox. We take this information seriously. However, as of this time 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. MtGox is investigating and will provide further reports when additional information becomes known.

Nicole Navas, a spokesperson for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) department, today told CNET: "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."

The implications of this action are not yet clear, but it could indicate the beginning of a long battle to bring Bitcoin under the rule of US law. Just last week, America's Commodity Futures Trading Commission confirmed it was looking into Bitcoin and deciding whether regulating the e-cash was possible - or necessary.

In March, the US Treasury said any firms dealing in the virtual currency would be considered "money services businesses" just like any other, which means they must hand over transaction information to the government and work to prevent money laundering.

A denial-of-service attack on Mt. Gox in April followed a spectacular crash in the currency's value which saw over $100 wiped off the value of each crypto-coin.

More than $1bn worth of Bitcoin is currently in circulation, with well over half of all transactions passing through Mt. Gox. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Forget silly privacy worries - help biometrics firms make MILLIONS
Beancounter reckons dabs-scanning tech is the next big moneypit
Microsoft's Office Delve wants work to be more like being on Facebook
Office Graph, social features for Office 365 going public
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.