Business

Steve Kaaru

Polish exchange Coinroom disappears with customers’ funds: report

Coinroom, an exchange based in Poland, has shut down and disappeared with customer funds. According to a report by local outlet Money.pl, the exchange made off with funds from thousands of customers, ranging from $80 to $15,800.

Coinroom was registered in 2016, the report revealed. It then opened its website the next year, promising customers an easy and intuitive platform to buy and sell cryptos that was friendly to novice investors. It offered crypto-to-fiat and crypto-to-crypto pairs.

One day the customers got an email that the exchange was shutting down. The operators offered no explanation as to the reasons behind the sudden decision to shut down. They then asked the customers to withdraw their funds, giving them just one day to do so. Those who didn’t withdraw their funds were asked to contact the exchange’s customer support for assistance.

The exchange informed users who complained about its exit strategy that everything was according to its terms and conditions, which the users had agreed to before they started to trade.

While the short time given to withdraw the funds was a challenge for many, it wasn’t the biggest problem they would encounter. The exchange ended up either refunding the money only partly or not refunding at all. One aggrieved customer told the publication that he had lost 2.005 BTC. When he wrote an email to ask for his BTC, he was told that a transfer had been initiated. To this day, he is yet to receive his tokens or an explanation from the exchange.

Some of the aggrieved investors have reported the case to Łukasz Łapczyński, the District Prosecutor in Warsaw. Łapczyński confirmed to the outlet that he had received the complaints and that the proceedings against Coinroom had been registered. His office was in the process of seeking out other aggrieved investors. It was still too early to correctly estimate the total value of the losses, he stated. He declined to comment further on the case as it could impede his office’s investigations.

Coinroom’s founder, Tomasz Zbigniew Wiewior has since disappeared and is being sought by the authorities. Popularly known as TW, he is alleged to have started another crypto company in Estonia.

Some of the investors have created online forums to push for the resolution of the case and air their grievances. Others stormed the Coinroom offices, but found that the management team had already made off and the few subordinate staff members that were left didn’t offer much help.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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