Business 4 May 2018Gerald Fenech
BitGrail exchange re-opens, only to shut down 3 hours later
Cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail, which recently made headlines due to February’s Nano hack, found itself again a victim of yet another unfortunate incident that dented quite a bit of its credibility.
On May 2, the Italy-based cryptocurrency exchange announced that it would be resuming its operations, only to inform its customers that it was closing down the BitGrail platform until further notice after just three hours of being open.
We have temporarily disabled the BitGrail exchange pending further notice.
— BitGrail Exchange (@BitGrail) May 2, 2018
On its website, BitGrail explained the recent snafu, saying that one of its aggrieved clients filed a petition to close Bitgrail until a court case is heard on May 16:
“This morning, following the re-opening, we were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by the Bonelli law office on behalf of a client.”
The Italian cryptocurrency exchange said that although they did not agree with the decision, they had to respect the law and suspend the BitGrail operation with immediate effect.
In February, BitGrail was robbed of around $187 million worth of Nano tokens. It was one of the main portals that traded in this token, which was known before as RaiBlocks. When founder Francesco Firano announced the hack, he was met with a wave of scepticism that further dented the reputation of the exchange. In January, the exchange had also halted all withdrawals and deposits of the Nano, List and Cryptoforecast tokens. It also announced new identity verification and anti-money laundering protocols with the possibility of blocking non-European users.
Investors who lost their funds filed a petition which asked the Italian courts to declare the cryptocurrency exchange bankrupt. The Italian law firm, BonelliErede filed a bankruptcy petition on behalf of BitGrail creditor Espen Enger, who was in touch with hundreds of hack victims.
BitGrail had vowed to refund the victims last March, but nothing has happened since a proposal was floated to issue a new BitGrail shares token which would have covered 80% of the losses. The remaining 20% would be paid in Nano token; however, those who accepted this proposal would have to forego any legal action against the company. Nothing has been heard of the proposal since.
To add to its woes, BitGrail received another lawsuit by an American law firm Silver Miller acting on behalf of its client, Alex Brola who invested the amount of $50,000 in Nano in 2017. In its suit, the firm sought for the altcoin to conduct a hard fork which would reset its amount to where it had been before the theft occurred. The Nano Foundation had announced that it would be sponsoring a legal fund to provide all BitGrail victims with appropriate legal representation.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.
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