Bitcoin hits $8000! On a mysterious exchange with a shady past...

This one's a wild story, but i'll try to keep it as straight and to the point as possible.

There was once a Russian based exchange called BTC-E which closed down after an insider there named Alexander Vinnik was charged with laundering billions - currently the US, France, and Russia are fighting over who gets to extradite him and put him behind bars. 

The BTC-E exchange was also allegedly connected to black market darknet drug dealers from the now busted Silk Road - basically,  BTC-E was a favorite exchange among the shady members of the crypto underworld.

Flash forward to today, BTC-E re-launched under the name WEX - and the shady business seems to have started up again.  They're showing Bitcoin trading at $8151, while other exchanges are showing it somewhere around $6400.

Traders in various crypto forums and telegram channels are suspecting an exit scam may be coming - the price manipulation could be to attract gullible arbitrage traders.  That is, when Bitcoin is selling higher on one exchange than another, you could in theory purchase Bitcoin for $6400 from somewhere like coinbase, send the coins to WEX, then sell them at a huge profit with little effort - perhaps WEX is hoping people start sending their BTC over for this reason, then the site will simply disappear.

WEX has already given users a heads up for planned downtime for "maintiance" tomorrow June 12th.

Avoid this one.

Author: Oliver Redding
Seattle News Desk