BRUSSELS: The Belgian police have arrested two Belgian brothers who are allegedly involved in a large-scale unlicensed Bitcoin exchange operation. The brothers’ team called Zhao Dong 1982 on LocalBitcoins had been collecting very high commissions for Bitcoin sale transactions.
The police have reportedly seized a total of €400,000, including nearly €100,000 in cash that was discovered hidden behind a spare tire in a garage during the arrest. Curiously, one of the arrested brothers is a police officer.
The LocalBitcoins exchange is already a well-known platform for connecting sellers and buyers of Bitcoin, which is the leading digital currency in the world. The exchange, however, is being closely monitored by many law enforcement authorities as it is being used by individuals who are either involved in money laundering activities or for operating an illegal exchange.
The brothers have caught the attention of the police due to the high amount of their transactions, as well as the very high commissions that they collect. Transacting with large amounts of Bitcoin is generally discouraged or frowned upon in the market, particularly when the sales surpass several thousands of euros.
The brothers’ operation is prohibited in Belgium as transacting a large amount of money without an official license is illegal. There is also a high possibility that the brothers are also involved in money laundering schemes.
The arrest of the brothers, as well as other previous apprehensions made by law enforcement authorities, could be a part of efforts to stop the operations of darknet marketplaces worldwide. Among the other steps is the shutting down of the AlphaBay and Hansa markets in the past few weeks.
It is very intriguing to see if the crackdown on these marketplaces, as well as the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, will be aggressively pursued in the coming days, and how these developments could affect the digital currency market.