Bitgrail has indefinetely suspended all trading on its platform citing its discovery of “unauthorized transactions which led to a 17 million Nano shortfall”.
The exchange has been plagued by problems throughout January with users complaining of lengthy waits for ID verification, and hence restrictions on removing cryptocurrencies off the exchange.
The site’s marketplace now redirects to a statement that reads in part:
Today a charge about those fraudulent activities has been submitted to the competent authorities and now is under police investigation.
We inform you that the other currencies have not been involved.
In order to conduct further verifications, all the activities will be temporarily suspended (including withdrawals and deposits). This procedure is indispensable for users security.
The news is disastrous for Bitgrail and its customers, many bracing for expected heavy losses. Nano represents over 80% of the US$2-3 million average daily trading volume. The value of 17 million Nano is around US$150-$200 million.
The news is also problematic for Nano (formerly XRB) as Bitgrail was one of the few exchanges to offer the NANO token, with the price tumbling 15% in 12 hours, on a day that the crypto market was averaging gains of around the same size.
In an extraordinary email exchange between Nano’s Colin LeMahieu and Zac Shapiro and Bitgrail Founder and Owner, Francesco “The Bomber” Firano, Bitgrail requests the Nano team to fork the coin, and then later appears to threaten them by blaming a bug with Nano for the lost NANO.
Nano hit back in their official statement and included this little gem:
We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.
None of this will be any comfort for those holding coins on Bitgrail.