Cryptocurrency exchange in Canada “hacked” in potential exit scam
A cryptocurrency exchange based in Alberta, Canada, has publically announced on Twitter that their platform has been hacked and as a result, there are no funds left. MapleChange, which launched in May of this year, facilitated the buying and selling of more than 60 different cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. Although the exact amount of funds stolen is yet to be verified, various sources claim it was in the region of 913 Bitcoin, or $6 million.
News of the scandal first broke when the official MapleChange Twitter account announced that “Due to a bug, some people have managed to withdraw all the funds from our exchange” and that until they conduct an investigation, “we cannot refund anything.” The account has close to 2,000 followers on Twitter, which falls in-line with the exchange’s relatively minute daily trading volumes, which peaked at around $67,000.
Nevertheless, just one hour after the Twitter message was posted, MapleChange posted one more update, prior to deleting the account.
As a result, it resembles the hallmark of a classic exit scam. An exit scam usually centres on the objective of building an element of trust with a customer base and when the time is right, disappear with all of the money.
Had MapleChange not deleted their Twitter account, a simple round of investigative journalism would have further confirmed that the exchange was nothing more than a scam. The GoDaddy domain registration is held by a self-titled individual called “Flavius P”. One would expect a platform that is responsible for safe-guarding customer funds to be registered under an LLC, or at least a more professional-sounding pseudonym. Moreover, upon analyzing the website’s traffic statistics, MapleChange experienced a sudden burst of activity over the past week, potentially indicating that they were ready strike.
Ultimately, it is a shame that once again the cryptocurrency industry must succumb to more news surrounding exchange hacks. The second half of 2018 has thus far been relatively positive, including a plethora of interest from major financial institutions such as Northern Trust and Black Rock. Nevertheless, this should one again be a stark reminder that you should never keep a large amount of funds in a cryptocurrency exchange. As you do not have control of your private keys, if anything untoward happens, then you stand the chance of falling victim to bad actors, just like those at MapleChange.