Bitcurex, a Polish bitcoin exchange, posted a notice on its website that it lost part of its assets on October 13 as a result of “external interference in automated data collection and processing of information.” The exchange service has been taken offline.
The notice indicated service is expected to resume on November 30, 2016, but the message has caused some to question how much the company knows about what happened and how committed it is to reimbursing users for losses.
The company’s management, Digital Future Sp., on October 17 filed a report with the prosecutor’s office in Lodz for criminal prosecution, the message noted. The company made a recapitalization agreement with an investor in order to resume the service and allow users to return funds.
The website owner needed up to seven days from the receipt of the form to verify the information.
The notice included a form for customers to cancel Bitcurex service.
The lack of clarity about the cause of the loss has caused some financial websites in Poland to question the company’s commitment to refunding losses.
Victims’ proceedings are pending against Digital Future, according to bitcoin.pl.
Analyst Michal Kisiel, writing in bankier.pl, noted the content of the message raises doubts and suggests that the company is not able to determine the users’ balances. The fact that the form posted for users is to be sent by e-mail instead of regular mail is cause for concern.
Kisiel commented that Bitcurex could be playing for time, and customers will have problems recovering their funds. He said the information Bitcurex is requiring customers to provide to recover funds is so extensive that many will not be able to gather all the data. He emphasized the fact that the company is not regulated and clients’ funds are not protected.
Another Polish website, Trusted Third Party, noted Bitcurex did not know the cause of the loss. It also noted the exchange has not yet informed all of its customers about the theft and how to recover their funds, as if it wanted to limit the number of clients seeking to reimburse. The publication speculates that 2300 BTC (approx $1.5 million in current prices) was lost.
Trusted Third Party implores anyone who recovers funds from Bitcurex to make contact with the website, promising anonymity.
The lack of clarity from Bitcurex about the situation is in stark contrast to how the company addressed a hacking attack in 2014.
After halting trades to investigate a hacking attack, the company noted an attacker tried to obtain 19,000 BTC from the exchange with a fraudulent buy order. However, the site was shut down within five minutes of the buy order, and Bitcurex offered
Bitcurex noted it located and removed the source of the problem, and eventually resumed service. It noted it would refund losses.
Images from Shutterstock and Bitfinex.