BTC-E – Terrorist or Freedom Fighter?

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A recent tragedy has befallen on the Bitcoin world. There’s chaos and grief all over Bitcoin forums in this post-Bitstamp downfall era. Although the implications of this event may not be as disastrous as the fall of Mt. Gox, but it has certainly caused the trust to be plummeted on centralized Bitcoin exchanges – now more than ever. In contrast, there’s only one exchange that has been quietly sitting in the backseat and watching the events unfold right in front of them. Sometimes called as “the shadiest exchange of them all” on Reddit, BTC-e is the only Bitcoin exchange that can proudly claim to have been through all, ever since late 2011, to have survived this wild west without a major attack on their trading platform.


One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter



The above statement has not only become a cliche, but also one of the profound sayings which expresses the concept of objective and subjective reality in a very efficient manner. Although, generally the aphorism is used to describe the perplexing nature of terrorism, it can also be applied to observe any school of thought. In this case, try to think of BTC-e in a neutral position.

 BTC-e has been a subject of controversy since their platform went live. They have been criticized based on no evidence to be involved with money laundering and all other forms of online criminal activity. Notwithstanding the false rumors, the only sound reason for such criticism is because they have chosen to remain anonymous. Once again, providing no evidence, a reddit user on Bitcoin comments about BTC-e:

 

You would have to be crazy to be using it. No accountability whatsoever, no names, and past stolen coins seems to flow there, so they promote theft clearly. If they cooperated with authorities and released their server logs so IP’s and accounts could be traced I’d trust them a little more. But its’ quite obvious, this is a criminal type site. It’s not hard to imagine they promote fraud, evasion, etc.”

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The origins and whereabouts of BTC-e and its founders still remains a mystery to the general public. In fact, it seems like that the management team behind BTC-e is adhering to the philosophy of anonymity on purpose. There is little to no information available on their website about the company’s physical location. The terms of use on BTCe’s website states the exchange is governed by the laws applicable in Cyprus. However, a Google search on them reveals that they are based in Bulgaria. This keeps adding up. They usually don’t do interviews and have maintained their distance from the overall Bitcoin community. Moving on, there’s no company blog and good luck finding a contact number to directly reach them.

In our interconnected and supposedly free world, this may come across as practices of a ‘shady’ business to a bystander. And fairly so. Because, after all, they are involved in the money business. If their customers are trusting them with their money, this reason alone should be compelling enough for them to remain transparent and publicly identify themselves. Following this logical argument, one could draw a conclusion from the consequences of the premises. The premise of the argument here being that they must remain publicly accountable because they are dealing with customers finances. Since they are secretive about their operations, hence, they must be involved in something illegal. Thus, reaching to a conclusion, from a subjective point view and labeling them as terrorist according to One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

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Given the exception of BTC-e, there’s no easy way of acquiring Bitcoins from an exchange without handing over your personal documents to a strange company over the Internet. Let it be noted that it won’t only be criminals who are cautious about revealing their identities. The alarming raids on the invasion of privacy have caused stress among ordinary law abiding citizens. Amid the staggering rise in online identity theft, people have woken up and become more privacy-centric and vigilant of their online activities. There is no doubt that this was the reason Satasohi Nakamoto invented Bitcoin in the first place. If BTC-e have kept themselves as anonymous, it is in accordance with the founding principles of Bitcoin, i.e. to give power back in the hands of honest people.

To this date, BTC-e has never been accused of stealing people’s money or engaging in any sort of malicious behavior by several users of the exchange. Following this logical argument, let’s draw a conclusion from the consequences of the premises. The premise of the argument here being that Bitcoin users need a more efficient way of buying & selling Bitcoins without disclosing their personal information to third parties. Since they have a reputation in this business which speaks for itself and because there haven’t been negative customer feedback, hence, they are fulfilling the purpose of a truly free exchange. Thus, reaching to a conclusion, from an objective point of view and labeling them as freedom fighter according to One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” The freedom fighter with the likes of Satoshi Nakamoto.

Conclusion

I’d like to point out that readers have been advised in the beginning of the article to approach with a neutral stance on the topic. The whole purpose of this post was to highlight the difference of opinion surrounding this controversial exchange. Investors are highly advised to do their own due diligence before putting their hard earned money into an exchange like BTC-e.