South African exchange iCE3 goes into liquidation after BTC and LTC ‘discrepancies’

South African exchange iCE3 goes into liquidation after BTC and LTC ‘discrepancies’

One of South Africa’s oldest digital currency exchanges is now in liquidation, just weeks after halting withdrawals. iCE3 has announced that it has initiated the liquidation proceedings after it found discrepancies in its BTC and Litecoin (LTC) balances.

On March 16, the exchange announced the discrepancies, causing great unrest among its users. It blamed the issue partly on its Austrian technology partner Merkleon.com.

“It has come to our attention that there are discrepancies in the balances pertaining to Bitcoin and Litecoin we hold on the platform. After consultation and deliberation with our partner Merkeleon.com and their subsidiary Coinspaid.com, we have not been able to reach a satisfactory conclusion,” it stated in a status update on its website.

It went on to suspend deposits and trading of all supported digital currencies. In particular, it also halted withdrawal of BTC and LTC immediately, pending the outcome of its investigations. This caused instant panic among its users, as local outlet MoneyWeb reports. They rushed to withdraw their balances, worsening the situation.

Initially, the exchange would instantly respond to customer queries and complaints. However, in the three weeks since then, many customers have reported neglect from the exchange, with most complaints going unanswered.

One client told MoneyWeb, “Up until Monday I was receiving communications from the company and was told my request for withdrawal was in the queue. Then suddenly things went quiet when the company posted a message saying that withdrawals had been suspended and the company was going to be put in liquidation. I’m worried that I am going to lose what I have built up in my account.”

iCE3 has since then deleted its Facebook page and on Twitter, it has yet to give any updates since the saga began. On Facebook, iCE3 customers have launched their own Facebook page on which they share updates regarding their pursuit for their digital currencies.

The welcome message on the page reads, “Since the ICE3x management have abdicated their responsibility in managing the narrative around this issue, this page has been created as a hub for people to share strategies about the way forward and status updates around the problems we face with the failures at their exchange.”

Gareth Gobler, the founder of the exchange has yet to give an official statement and has failed to respond to all media inquiries.

Established in 2013, iCE3 was one of South Africa’s oldest exchanges. However, over the years, it has lost out to the new exchanges. It has about 80,000 accounts, with only a small percentage of these said to be active. As such, not many traders will be affected by the unfortunate event. Nevertheless, the ripple effects could be huge and could lead to restrictive regulations in the future.

Farzam Ehsani, the founder and CEO of VALR, one of the leading exchanges in South Africa, commented, “It is obviously very unfortunate to hear of the closure and liquidation of any crypto exchange. I’m not aware of the details of what has happened, but I hope that a favourable resolution can be found for all parties involved.”

See also: CoinGeek Live panel, Digital Currency & Global Compliance: Tools & Tips for Exchanges, Wallets & Other Service Providers

New to Bitcoin? Check out CoinGeek’s Bitcoin for Beginners section, the ultimate resource guide to learn more about Bitcoin—as originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto—and blockchain.

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