Maplechange, a small Canadian cryptocurrency exchange, has ceased operations following the purported theft of all the funds it was holding. Despite promises of an investigation into the matter, many have accused the exchange of attempting to stage an exit scam.
Canadian Exchange Drained of Holdings
Maplechange took to Twitter to announce the hack, which took place one day after it had conducted “maintenance” to revamp its website. It claimed that “due to a bug, some people have managed to withdraw all the funds” it had been holding. The exchange said it had launched a “thorough investigation” and insisted that it couldn’t offer refunds to customers until it had concluded its probe. “We are extremely sorry that it has to come to end like this,” it added.
Some sites claimed that Maplechange had deleted the initial tweet within an hour, along with its Telegram and Discord accounts. Those reports cited another tweet from the exchange stating that it would cease business and shut down its social media presence, because it had been completely drained of funds and was left unable to pay its customers back.
However, Maplechange returned to Twitter five hours after it reported the hack, amid widespread accusations that it was staging an exit scam. “We have not disappeared,” it said. “We simply turned off our accounts temporarily to think this solution through.”
The company opened a Discord server for refunds an hour later, stating that it would be unable to refund any BTC or LTC that had been lost. However, it vowed to try “to refund everything else.”
Significant Trading Spike Prior to Hack
Maplechange saw a significant spike in trade volume in the week preceding the hack. After posting daily trade volume of between $2,000 and $3,000 for the majority of the second and third weeks of October, it bounced between approximately $10,000 and $65,000 in the days leading up to the hack, before falling to roughly $5,000 during the website maintenance period on Oct. 27. At the time of the purported hack, CCX/BTC and LMO/LTC were the two most traded pairings on Maplechange.
The company has since pledged to transfer all of the coins it still possesses back to the coin developers. At the time of this writing, it had said that it had already returned funds to Lumeneo (LMO) and Carbon Credit Coin (CCX).
Maplechange first launched an LTC/CCX pairing on Oct. 11. “Amazing volume today thanks to LMO,” it posted on the following day. “Make sure to grab a boatload for yourself.” It also introduced an XMR/CCX pairing on Oct. 2, and thanked its LTC/LMO pairing for producing “rock solid” daily volume on Oct. 3.
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