Arthur Budovsky, the founder of Liberty Reserve, a digital-based currency in Costa Rica, has been arrested and website shuts down by the US government on account of money-laundering charges, Costa Rican authorities said. Officials in the Central American nation said in a statement that he was detained as part of an investigation involving the U.S. authorities. The police raided Budovsky’s properties and seized his computer servers before his website, libertyreserve.com went offline.
LibertyReserve.com is an ecurrency website that allows anyone to open an account by giving a valid email address. Once a person signs up for an account, Liberty Reserve gives them a user name and an account number and they can start transferring money around the world. “Liberty Reserve, which conducted its transactions in dollars, euros and roubles, operates as an anonymous, no-questions-asked alternative to the global banking system” said Aditya Sood, a computer science doctoral candidate at Michigan State University who has studied the electronic currency. “You don’t need to provide your full details, or personal information, or things like that,” he said in a telephone interview. “There’s no way to trace an account. That’s the beauty of the system.”
In the wake of these developments, Ecurrency users have expressed mixed feelings about digital currency. Some said Liberty Reserve’s demise would prove a plus for other digital currency, while others worried it could drive more cybercriminals to start using them.
Business-Matter.com gathered the opinions, feelings and reactions of LR users and here is what they have to say.
“I used LR for many years, alone with other payment processors and its demise is simply a logical outcome for any and all payment systems out there, which are ‘short’ of getting money transmitting licenses all over the world and in US in particular. I’ve seen many of them “come and go” (e-gold, e-bullion, INTGold, StormPay, altergold, ePassporte… ) and for LR it was only a matter of time. The most important conclusion one should make from all these closures of the past, is to NEVER keep excessive amounts of funds in any of such payment processor systems.”
“It is SO annoying and people are so stupid. Just because Liberty Reserve has been closed down for criminal acts, straith away, people start rumours that Payza and PayPal might also be closed down… STOP !STOP !!STOP!!!…. there is a huge difference between being a criminal and running a decent business. Why on earth is it people start rumours when they have no facts??? There has been bad rumours around about Liberty Reserve for years and people have been reporting about missing funds. It was high time someone took actions against them..”
“The loss of Liberty Reserve has the potential to cause a “major upheaval” in the cybercrime economy”, said the investigative-journalist-turned-security-researcher Brian Krebs, who added that hackers writing in underground forums were already buzzing with concern over frozen funds.
Meanwhile, most liberty reserve account users and exchangers are already counting their losses. Here is what some of them have to say.
“..fuck LR i lost 3000 LR in my account piece of shits” Said -Mhamad Mhanna, a lebanon.
“Liberty Reserve has come and gone…but as soldiers and Entepreneurs…we will get better.” -Olaide Amin, a Nigerian LR exchanger.
“Firstly I’d like to state I was a legitimate user of Liberty Reserve using it to exchange currency’s for a profit. I had lost a substantial amount of money from the shutdown and I have no idea on what is going to happen since no one from the company has given any statement thus far. I am hoping to hear some more official statements being released in the near future as me and many other rely on our balances in our account’s as a way of getting by.” Another exchanger in Phillipines said.
Another forex trader said
“I’ve lost 160k in Liberty Reserve if it truly never comes back up. I’m a fx trader and have been using Liberty Reserve for years now. Worse part about this is no information whatsoever from anyone in charge or in power with any government and no splash page on Liberty Reserve’s domain about anything. My lifestyle will surely change this year and I’ll have to buckle down and budget and hope for the best. The reality of this situation is Liberty Reserve is not being shut down by the U.S. because of cybercrime or anything of that sort. It is part of their policies on controlling the global flow of money and resulting in the building of their coffers with other people’s wealth all over the world.”
Another has this to say
“i lost 30k$ in second i hate my life now and i don’t know what i should do, no one can feel me, i work hard alot to get this money i was saving money in liberty cause was the most safe and trusted bank and have very good repetition in internet market,and i can found easy exchanger for exchange my liberty to cash , i work in programing i create good tools and in advertising also i have some small investment..after 2-3 year work in internet without any problem with liberty last day was black day for me everything gone ,i was saving money for pay first payment for my apartment, now me and my family we don’t know what we should do i am waiting more news about liberty hope i hear some good news soon”
Several others also expressed their grief and annoyance too…
“how are we going to take my money back,i have about $901.84lr in account,why is it time i needed my money most thing like this happen,i want to use the money for important transaction,why you people do this to me.”
“I‘ve lost my 200usd that i earned back after several lost in forex….although it is small sum for someone…but it mean very much for me…please help us to get it back.”
“I have lose 18k in my lr ..please halp as get our money back”
“I lost my 126$$ in liberty reserve. i am a data entry worker and i manage my home with this small amount every week. i am a real needy person”
“Hi, I am Kiran from India and was using LR for so many months with my online investments and trading. I have lost 1k in my LR. 1k is very huge amount for the middle class man. Kindly look into this issue, and help us to get our money back. And no one from LR has intimated about the problem or whatever so far.”
“I have lose 1k Lr.please help us and send me solution”
“I guess I will have to consider my 160K as a donation to the U.S. national debt.”
“Liberty Reserve i lost 10,000 euros how can i get this money back i thought Liberty Reserve was supposed to considered the most Reliable & trustworthy site.”
Editor’s Note: Are you also a victim of LR shut down, do you have any story about LR, please share them in the comment below.