Bitsane, a cryptocurrency exchange based in Dublin, Ireland, has vanished mysteriously, reportedly scamming millions of dollars from close to 250,000 clients.
The exchange shut down last week, but the issues had started much earlier. According to Bitsane users who spoke to Forbes, the exchange began experiencing “technical issues” in May. When the users wrote to inquire, the exchange’s customer support team told them that withdrawals were “temporarily disabled due to technical reasons.”
In mid-June, the exchange’s social media accounts were taken down. The website also went offline, spooking the users. By then, it was already too late.
The users have formed Telegram and Facebook groups where they are raising their grievances. Many of them claim to have lost up to $5,000. There are a few who have lost higher amounts, including one U.S. resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity. He claimed to have lost $150,000.
He told the outlet, “I was trying to transfer XRP out to bitcoin or cash or anything, and it kept saying ‘temporarily disabled.’ I knew right away there was some kind of problem. I went back in to try to look at those tickets to see if they were still pending, and you could no longer access Bitsane.”
Bitsane launched in 2016, touting its platform as a “sophisticated cryptocurrency exchange offering superior trade execution for a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.” It listed Aidas Rupsys as its CEO and Dmitry Prudnikov as the CTO. Both have since deleted their profiles on LinkedIn and were unreachable for comments.
During the 2017 crypto mania, it rose to prominence following positive coverage it received from CNBC.
On January 2, 2018, the outlet published an article that praised the platform, especially since it offered XRP trading which leading American exchange Coinbase didn’t at the time. Out of the five Bitsane users that spoke to Forbes, three said they began using the exchange after reading the CNBC article.
Ripple also listed the exchange on its website until very recently, with a Ripple spokesperson declining from commenting on the latest developments.
Bitsane had at least 246,000 users according to data on Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. On March 31, the last time CoinMarketCap recorded its volume, the exchange facilitated $7 million worth of crypto trading volume.
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