A Nigerian cryptocurrency wallet is alleged to have pulled off an exit scam, disappearing with over $1 million in users’ funds. The users of Satowallet first started reporting withdrawal hitches in April, which led many to question the company’s legitimacy. However, the management reassured the users, blaming its technical issues on its web hosting services provider.
Satowallet was founded in 2017 and claims to be based in Dubai, according to a report by Finance Magnates. Its parent firm Blockchain Tech Hub is based in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. The wallet supports over 60 cryptocurrencies.
The report reveals that users begun experiencing issues with their withdrawals in April. The company blamed the issues on technical hitches. However, during the time that the users were unable to access their funds, Satowallet claimed that several Telegram scammers exploited the upgrade period and stole some of the funds that the company held for its users.
In a statement afterwards, Satowallet assured its users that it had fixed the vulnerability. However, almost immediately after, it installed tough KYC measures which would take weeks to be verified. This further delayed the withdrawals for the users.
In August, the wallet became totally inaccessible for its users. The CEO said at the time that all its servers were down. He blamed the outage on OVH.ie, the wallet’s data center provider which had hosted the servers for the previous two years. The website and app were restored after a few days. However, the users’ coins got lost in the process.
Satowallet accused OVH of fraud and stealing the company’s wallet servers. Regardless of where the blame lies, the users’ funds are gone.
Despite the major steps the crypto industry has taken to identify and rid itself of exit scams, they are still occurring. A report by cybersecurity firm CipherTrace in August labeled 2019 as the year of exit scams. The report revealed that crypto investors have already lost $3.1 billion to exit scams this year. However, the lion’s share of this amount, $2.9 billion was lost when South Korean crypto exchange PlusToken vanished with customers’ funds.
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