The price of most cryptocurrencies trading on the controversial World Exchange Services (WEX) exchange has recently plummeted, shortly after the company’s platform underwent scheduled maintenance. On WEX, certain cryptocurrency withdrawals are halted until July 22.
As CryptoGlobe recently covered, most cryptocurrencies are trading at a premium at the exchange. In the last 24 hours Bitcoin, the flagship cryptocurrency, saw its price drop 5.8% from over $9,200 to about $8,660 before recovering. In other markets, BTC is trading at $7,400 after falling a mere 0.15%.
Ethereum, the second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, saw its price drop from nearly $600 to $560. Elsewhere, ETH is trading at $478. Tether’s USDT token, supposedly pegged to the US dollar 1:1, fell from $1.7 to $1.5 on the exchange.
The drop occurred minutes after WEX’s scheduled maintenance period ended. Behind the price premiums may be various allegations the exchange is selectively scamming traders, as various Redditors and social media users claim accounts are getting locked.
In an official subreddit for the exchange, there are multiple discussions surrounding the company’s future. As covered, WEX is a rebranded version of the now-defunct exchange BTC-e, which was taken down by US authorities last year over alleged money laundering charges.
A Russian national, Alexander Vinnik, was at the time arrested in Greece for allegedly laundering $4 billion in bitcoin through the exchange. Authorities claimed Vinnik was an admin there, while it argued he was never an employee. BTC-e was later on fined for $110 million.
According to reports, WEX is officially owned by Dmitry Vasiliev, a man that recently claimed to have lost control of the exchange. Speaking to Russian news outlet RBC he was unable to clarify who’s now in charge, although RBC claims former Soviet militiaman Dmitry Khavchenko is looking to buy WEX. Khavchenko told RBC he “decided to become a cryptomillionaire.”
Notably, WEX has frozen certain cryptocurrency withdrawals until July 22 over alleged wallet maintenance. Users are seemingly only able to withdraw less liquid coins, such as ZEC or NMC.
Due to wallets maintenance, BTC, LTC, ETH, BCH, DSH withdrawals won't be available until 22 July. Sorry for inconvenience caused.
— WEX Official (@WEXnz) July 16, 2018
While the cryptocurrency exchange does offer fiat trading pairs, looking at its platform shows there seems to be no way to withdraw fiat currencies. The withdrawals page doesn’t specify a method, and there seems to be no way to add bank details to an account.
Instead, the page asks for a “receiver,” and notes in Russian that if the receiver isn’t specified “any user, including the creator, can redeem the code.” Presumably, this means “withdrawing” fiat currencies on WEX merely gives users a code that can be used to transfer funds to another account.
Tellingly, users can freely deposit both cryptocurrencies and fiat. In fact, fiat deposit methods include Western Union and MoneyGram transfers. WEX hasn’t publicly commented on the controversy surrounding it, and wasn’t immediately available to a request for comment.