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Canadian cryptocurrency exchange closes in possible exit scam

A small Canadian cryptocurrency exchange has ceased trading after claiming to be hacked in what some are alleging was instead an “exit scam.”

The exchange, called MapleChange, launched in May with 110 trading pairs and 62 cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

According to numbers from Coingecko, the exchange never had huge volumes, with its highest day coming in at $67,000. But that apparently didn’t stop a small number of users using the exchange and hence now having their cryptocurrency balances stolen.

Details of the hack along with the company itself, which was controversial from day one, are slim. MapleChange claimed on Twitter Sunday that a bug had enabled some people to withdraw all of the funds on the exchange.

“We are in the process of a thorough investigation for this,” the company noted. “We are extremely sorry that it has to come to end like this. Until the investigation is over, we cannot refund anything.”

Subsequent tweets claimed that it was attempting to refund amounts of minor cryptocurrencies that had not been stolen, noting that it cannot refund any bitcoin or Litecoin, presumably because those were the cryptocurrencies stolen. Although the amount stolen has not be confirmed by the company, some reports suggested that 913 bitcoin worth $5.85 million has disappeared.

The accusations that this may be an exit scam are widespread. An exit scam is where a company alleges to be hacked but its founders instead take the funds held by the exchange for themselves.

“The recipes for these sort of scams are very basic,” Crypto Coin Junky explained. “Garner user trust, accumulate funds in one place and then exit with the money. The excuse used to exit, as you can imagine, doesn’t matter as most claim that they have either been hacked or simply disappear and run off with the money.”

Victims of MapleChange have already organized a group called Maplechang’ed to represent those who have lost funds and to find pertinent information about the alleged “scammer” behind the exchange’s collapse.

So far, the group has published a number of allegations, including who was behind the exchange, links to a mining pool and a fraudulent initial coin offering.


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