Business

Dennis Wafula

Crypto exchange Wex loses NZ domain over fake registration details

Following the closure of the BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange in 2017, Wex, a digital assets trading platform, took over its operations. Since then, it has been providing cryptocurrency exchange services and was reported to have paid off part of BTC-e’s outstanding debts.

Trouble, however, came calling—again—after Wex got caught up in a fake identity case. According to reports, the directors at Wex allegedly registered their internet address using fake contact details. For this reason, the New Zealand Domain Name Commission (DNC) revoked the wex.nz domain.

The DNC announced that it had suspended six Wex domain names following the commission’s “enquiries in to the accuracy of the registration details for each of these domains.” DNC said it “initiated an investigation following complaints made to it.”

Other than wex.nz, the DNC has suspended a number of domain names—wexbet.nz, wexcash.nz, wexcoin.nz, wxcash.nz and wxcoin.nz—that lead to the same cryptocurrency website.

According to the commission, suspending the Wex domain names was made “in accordance with enforcing data validation measures under the .nz Principles and Responsibilities policy.” It stated, “The Commission wants .nz to be a safe, trusted and secure domain name space which is supported by its data validation process.”

“The individual who registered the domain names was not able to verify their contact details—and having valid contact details is a prerequisite for any .nz domain name holder,” the commission said.

Wex customers, however, decried the suspension, claiming the commission’s move led to huge losses. The .nz domain registry urged those affected to get in contact with law enforcement where they suspect fraud or crime-related activity. Victims are also advised to file reports with Netsafe, an independent body constituted to provide a safe online environment for people using the internet in New Zealand.

New mirror wex.link

Meanwhile, the crypto exchange took to Twitter to reassure its clients, urging them to “Use our new mirror wex.link.” This is one of several updates it has posted in recent months, including a couple of warnings about fake sites with similar addresses, such as wex.ac and wex.mn. Additionally, it put up a message about the listing of Monero (XMR) from August and some updates about maintenance-related interruptions in July.

Since its inception, Wex appears to have been operating on the wrong side of the law. The Russian-based cryptocurrency exchange, first came to the spotlight in 2017 after its founder, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested for allegedly taking part in a $4 billion fraud. The investigations are still ongoing in the U.S. and Greece. Back then, Wex exchange was under the name BTC-e.

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