With claims that the shut down of the Evolution marketplace may have netted the owners as much as 130,000 BTC, rumours began circulating yesterday that BTC-E ceased withdrawals so as to limit the ability of the thieves to exchange their new found riches for what some people call untainted coins.
The rumour that BTC-E had paused withdrawals as a result of stolen coins entering the exchange came from an Australian by the name of paulgr. Paulgr, who is a moderator for the BTC-E chat room said:
The support team is reviewing every withdrawal before releasing coins as there have been people that have been getting PM's that are offering coins to help with withdrawals. It seems some of the stolen evo coins have made it into the system. DONT accept any coins to help withdraw.
Despite these claims being made by the moderator for the aptly named trollbox, no-one is yet to step forward and provide a copy of the private message users are alleged to have received which solicited their help in exchanging stolen coins for supposed untainted ones. No comment has been forthcoming from BTC-E regarding the stolen coins either, but it did notify users via twitter that the exchange was experiencing network issues at its data centre and that its mail server would be temporarily unavailable at the same time rumours first began circulating that withdrawals had been paused. That making a withdrawal from BTC-E requires confirmation via email surely fuelled speculation as to what might have occurred.
Regardless as to why BTC-E really paused withdrawals and whether or not the concept of taint is an actual thing, it's important to note that thefts in the Bitcoin world almost always occur as a result of users willingly pushing their coins to another address and not thieves pulling coins from a wallet.
Relieved of their bitcoins, victims often go on to claim Bitcoin is flawed, that the stolen coins are now somehow tainted and that other people and companies must take responsibility having failed to do so themselves. Victims do this all the while having ignored tools deemed too difficult to manage, tools such as GPG contracts and the web of trust, things that if used correctly, likely would have safe guarded their precious bitcoins. Users of both Evolution and BTC-E have learned that without the two aforementioned tools, they will surely turn from speculator to spectator sooner than later.