Business 26 April 2018

Gerald Fenech

Mayhem at South Korean exchange—free crypto coins given out in error

The reputation of cryptocurrency exchanges continued to take a beating of late. The latest development occurred in South Korea, where coins were reportedly given out for free due to a system glitch.

New exchange Cashierest caused a sensation in South Korea’s crypto space after it was revealed that its users were allowed to withdraw up to five times their coin holdings due to a system glitch, Money Today reported. The exchange is now asking for the users to return the coins in good faith, failing which it will seek civil liabilities and damages from those users who do not return the coins voluntarily.

However, there seems to be a snag in this request since some users have actually reported that they couldn’t even with draw the coins themselves at all causing consternation. Cashierest was launched in March and appears to be suffering from teething and technological problems as it struggles to find its place in the crypto space. According to the report, the amount of cash that was withdrawn from the exchange was actually more than that which had to be sent to the other virtual currency trading site.

According to an investor who posted online, the amount of $11,086 was moved to the exchange initially but the amount of $55,400 was actually deposited. The transaction was made in Korean won even though most crypto exchanges in South Korea do not support the currency. After this happened, Upbit detected the error through its transaction confirmation system and halted the withdrawal, eventually suspending all withdrawals on a temporary basis. Other news sources stated that Cashierest started to stop withdrawals at around 1:30 p.m. last Friday although the exchange also claimed that all returned to normal by 4:39 p.m. with deposit and withdrawal services operating as usual.

Eventually Cashierest put up a notice explaining the software glitch and asked for the money back within a 24-hour period, failing which it would seek legal redress and damages along with interest. Several users also complained online that they were having problems with their withdrawals with some having theirs cancelled.

The damage amount is estimated to be at KRW1 billion ($924,000). Cashierest is also not part of the South Korean Blockchain Association, which has declared a commitment to self-regulation, so user’s rights appear to be on rather flimsy ground here.

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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