In recent news, Bitzlato, a Russia-linked cryptocurrency exchange, has partially restored access to user funds, despite being officially seized by European authorities. The exchange has enabled its users to withdraw up to 50% of their assets that were stuck on the platform due to enforcement from the United States and Europol. Bitzlato made the announcement on its Telegram channel on March 20, stating that users can now restore half of their assets using the Telegram bot called bz_phoenix_bot. The bot allows users to move assets from the web Bitzlato account to an external wallet or exchange.
All withdrawals from Bitzlato are processed in Bitcoin (BTC) as the platform converted all altcoin holdings by users into BTC when the service was halted on January 18. The firm converted user balances to Bitcoin due to technical difficulties associated with servicing multiple altcoins after Bitzlato was seized. Several alleged Bitzlato users have confirmed being able to move their Bitcoin to exchanges like ByBit and Binance. Some users also reportedly used software wallets like Trust Wallet and ViaBtc, and hardware wallets like Ledger, to withdraw their Bitcoin.
Bitzlato’s 50% withdrawal option follows its previously announced roadmap on restoring users’ access to the platform and resuming operations. According to the plan, Bitzlato will continue its work to restore the platform and aims to provide a service for peer-to-peer (P2P) cryptocurrency trading by early April 2023.
However, Bitzlato users should not expect to recover the remaining 50% of their assets once the P2P exchange is launched. A Bitzlato spokesperson clarified that there will be no second half once the P2P is opened since these are two unrelated questions and processes.
Bitzlato is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange that was launched in 2015 by a group of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. The exchange offers trading in a wide variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and Dash. It has a presence in several countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Venezuela, and Nigeria. Bitzlato was officially seized by European authorities on January 18, 2022, following a joint operation by the United States and Europol. The exchange was accused of being involved in money laundering and providing services to individuals involved in illegal activities.