People who are looking for a way to anonymize their bitcoins often have to go through various hoops. In most cases, the easiest way to do so is by using a cryptocurrency mixer. It now appears that Bitmixer.io, the world’s largest Bitcoin mixer, will cease operations. It is unclear if this has anything to do with Bitmixer’s link to AlphaBay users.

Curtain Call for the Popular Bitmixer.io

This news comes as quite a surprise to the entire cryptocurrency community. BitMixer.io has been around for many years now, as it is one of the few trusted mixing service providers. The company was designed in such a way so as to provide all Bitcoin users with additional privacy, as the popular cryptocurrency clearly lacked such traits. It has taken some years, but the Bitmixer team has finally realized that this is by design, rather than a flaw that needed to be addressed.

Moreover, mixing services have gotten a very bad reputation over the past few years. They have often been seen as a facilitator for criminal activity on the internet, mainly through the darknet. Once, the popular darknet marketplace AlphaBay even redirected users to BitMixer if they wanted to remove any taint from their bitcoins before making a transaction on the platform. It is possible that this link may have caused law enforcement officials to dig deeper into BitMixer and into who was behind the service.

The shutdown of this popular mixing service has been announced on Bitcointalk. Even though the company is turning a healthy profit — which is to be expected, as mixers do not operate free of charge — the service will be shut down immediately. Something clearly spooked their operators, although no one knows for sure what is going on exactly. Bitcoin doesn’t need darknet transactions to be wildly successful; that much is evident. There are still other mixing services in operation, though.

In our interview with Bitmixer’s owner back in 2015, he mentioned that Bitmixer had processed over 65,000 BTC in one month. If this is indeed correct, that influx of users will have to move somewhere, and the alternative mixers may see a rise in volume. Otherwise, if users start using an alternative cryptocurrency such as Monero or Dash, those altcoins may see a rise in price as a result.

What is rather intriguing is how the BitMixer administrator acknowledges that other currencies are better suited for darknet transactions. Both Dash and ZCash have inherent privacy and anonymity traits which are most beneficial when conducting illegal business online. Bitcoin was never designed to be used in this capacity, even though no one could argue the darknet hasn’t done wonders for the popularity of Bitcoin, even if for the wrong reasons. It will be interesting to see whether or not the BitMixer shutdown affects darknet markets over the coming months.

So far, the Bitcointalk community is not too pleased with this decision, which is understandable. Having fewer mixers to go around, the entire ‘business” of removing taint from coins will become more centralized. That could prove to be a big problem moving forward. Moreover, there are very few mixers that people actively trust right now, which will cause some issues in the future. Then again, the BitMixer team is also free to shut down their service whenever they want to.

It does not, though, appear someone will take over the platform or run the source code whatsoever. Nor does it seem the business will be sold to anyone else, which is somewhat of a strange decision. Then again, it seems the operator has had a change of heart and feels Bitcoin is now on course to become a legal currency in many countries over the next few years. The only way that can be achieved is without mixing services. Additionally, it is possible future versions of Bitcoin may offer increased privacy, although that has not been officially confirmed by any of its developers so far.

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