This review expresses my personal experience with Bitfinex:
On Wednesday, 1st of September 2021, 13:41 MET Bitfinex set my withdrawal of 406,04 XMR on hold.
I received a message from them (Ticket #864080) to provide the following information:
„As it is our mission and commitment to provide better and reliable services for all Bitfinex users, we require our users to update and/or provide Know-Your-Customer information from time to time in order to maintain the level of integrity and compliance required by international anti-money laundering as well as counter terrorist financing policies.
Accordingly, please provide us with the following details:
• Reasons for transfers from and to your Bitfinex account;
• A clear and detailed explanation your account activity and objectives.
• A detailed explanation of the sources of all funds deposited to Bitfinex
• A proof of source of funds confirming how the deposited funds were originally acquired.
• A detailed description of the destination you are sending your funds to from your Bitfinex account
• Have you ever opened and used any other account(s) on Bitfinex? If so please provide the user name(s) and email address(es) of any account ever opened. explain why you operated more than one account, if you have.
In addition to answering these questions, we will need you to provide us with both of the following documents 1. a scan of your current government-issued ID and 2. a photo of you holding your photo ID. Also, please make reference to Bitfinex in a note with the date the photo was taken and your signature displayed in this last picture. Make sure the image uploaded includes your full face and that all ID details are clearly readable in an image that is at least 6 megapixels resolution taken under correct light conditions. The images need to be in JPG format and need to be the original images generated by the camera used.“
I provided everything via e-mail and also escalated the ticket to speed up the process through their support (first via their 24/7 support chat and second via ticket #614585).
Today, 2nd September 2021, they responded that I should send again a picture from the proof of purchases because they couldn‘t open it and to give them information how the funds where initially acquired. Also I should elaborate more on my trading strategy. I replied with the whole information. On the 3rd of September 2021 they played their game again with a reply that asked fort the bank statement of my BTC-buys (which is hardcore for me to get because I closed this bank account 3 years ago) and to elaborate why I did not convert to XMR via Kraken (easy to answer: Kraken does not support Liquid and I sent L-BTC) – but also this information I will provide.
I usually don‘t use CEXes because I want to avoid bureaucratic KYC processes but I like the Bitfinex trading platform GUI and also they say for crypto-to-crypto trades only KYC is not needed – which I now see it‘s not the fact.
Over the last months I was heavily involved in learning and testing several applications on the liquid network and really enthusiastic about it. Just to mention TDEX and Sideswap, really nice made tools with huge potential in the future and I also tried to educate peope about liquid and helped to fill out bug reports. Through that I also discovered that Bitfinex is a member of the liquid federation and therefore they are offer trading via L-BTC. This was also a reason I wanted to try their service. Sure, not your keys/not your coins but such a liquidity you are getting only there in a short amount of time. They destroyed my enthusiasmn about liquid entirely. How can such a shady actor be one of the main pillars of this network?
Everything in the replies of their so called „Compliance team“ seems sketchy and fraudulent. They ask information a tax office would never ask (what the hell has my trading strategy to do with all that?). I gave them every information which shows clearly that I lawfully purchased BTC on a regulated exchange. It seems they are fraudulent and scammy and do ask again and again for additional, irrelevant information. That seems to be part of their delay tactics. Probably they have liquidity issues themselves and cannot process withdrawals ad-hoc, I think. Crypto-to-crypto trades on the BVI are unregulated and there is no single reason to enforce this artificial way of KYC – it’s only tactics by them to hold your money in hostage as long as possible or to steal.
This is a warning for every upright person in this space: Do not use Bitfinex if you want to avoid such similar situation. Believe me, this is a very stressful situation which don‘t let you sleep at night, thinking of a large part of your life savings seized by a probably fraudulent actor. I just want my money out there and never do business again with them. Also googling similar cases is eye-opening in a negative way.
If anybody has made similar experiences, do not hesitate to get in touch with me – I am in contact with a team of lawyers which are specialized in cases like this and will definitely file a complaint within the next weeks, if this situation is not resolved by Bitfinex/if I don’t get my money out there. I will definitely fight for my funds.
I will update the review regularly. When I get my funds back, I will delete it.