At the beginning of the week, users of the South Korean cryptocurrency exchange PureBit had a rude awakening when they realized that the exchange’s owner had pulled a fast one and had run off with their money. They were out about 13,000 Ether (ETH) tokens – worth around $2.8 million at the time – with nothing more than an “I’m sorry” from the owner. It now appears that the would-be fraudster has had a change of heart and is beginning to issue refunds.
Immediately after the scam, the crypto community, including a number of exchanges, rallied together to start to track the movements of the digital assets. The news made the airwaves around the world, helping support efforts to prevent the coins from getting too far. All of the work paid off, with the Upbit exchange ultimately freezing several accounts tied to the fraudsters.
Those initiatives undoubtedly played a part in preventing a catastrophe, as well as compelling the exchange owner to have a change of heart. Partial refunds have already started to be delivered and the company has promised to refund all of the ETH that was taken.
In a statement released by PureBit through local media channels, the scamming CEO said that he had made an “unforgiveable mistake.” The announcement went on to say, “This is Pure Bit. First off, I would like to apologize to everyone that was affected by the ICO. Since November 5, I raked in 16,000 ETH and did not open a crypto exchange as promised. I kicked out everyone in our social media chat groups and disappeared without any message. I negatively affected investors in the project psychologically and financially.
“I made an unforgivable mistake that cannot be turned around, blinded by money. It has been less than a day and I have already started to suffer from guilt. Although it cannot be compared with the hardship faced by the investors, I also felt significant guilt. I sincerely apologize to all of the investors in the ICO [initial coin offering] who were affected by the operation.”
The ICO referred to was a PureBit ICO that had attracted $30 million. In addition to the ETH stolen, the would-be criminal had also tried to run off with those funds, as well.
The CEO went on to say that the guilt had been too much, leading to his decision to issue the refunds. More than likely, it wasn’t the guilt as much as it was the angry mob with torches and pitchforks ready to attack.
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