Update January 12, 2016: Paul Vernon tweeted that a new phishing scam is targeting Cryptsy customers
Earlier this morning, we reported on the mysterious disappearance of the Cryptsy team from the building housing their headquarters. An anonymous source visited the building to see Paul Vernon, the cryptocurrency exchange’s Founder, and discovered that the building was empty. Upon contacting the building manager, our source learned that Cryptsy had vacated the building several weeks prior. This unannounced move comes in the middle of controversy surrounding Cryptsy, as many customers have reported difficulties withdrawing funds. Several of these frustrated customers have accused the exchange of stealing their money, but those claims have not been confirmed or denied. Below is a timeline of the events leading up to the discovery of Cryptsy’s disappearance.
Reddit user Otohs posted an in-depth description of his ordeal with Cryptsy and their apparent unwillingness to process a withdrawal request. Otohs claimed to have a “fully verified account which had no limits,” but still could not retreive the 76 BTC he requested from his exchange wallet on October 5. Otohs claims that since his initial message to Cryptsy support, he “had only excuses but mostly just been ignored. By November 7, Otohs had become fed up with the exchange, and sent Cryptsy support this message:
STOP STEALING MY MONEY!!
Send me the address of your registered offices and lawyer’s contact details as requested multiple times – DO THIS TODAY, robbing over $20,000 is a serious crime and by ignoring the matter you are only making your guilt more obvious and the consequences worse for yourselves.”
Vernon took to Twitter on November 22 to report a server failure that resulted in all exchange wallets being “paused.” Vern reassured his followers that the wallets would go back online soon
Two days later, Vernon sent out another tweet informing Cryptsy customers of a website outage. Vern blamed the downtime on a DDoS attack, and told his followers that the team was working to solve the problem
CCN reported on this DDoS attack on the 25th, encouraging readers to send any information they might have regarding Cryptsy’s downtime. NewsBTC also reported on the DDoS attack, mentioning that Kraken suffered an assault as well.
Vernon tweeted to Cryptsy customers once more, thanking them for their patience. He stated that his team will “try to do more frequent updates.”
Twitter user BitBargain replied to this announcement, complaining about difficulties that customers had withdrawing funds from Cryptsy:
On December 12, 2015, The Merkle published an article titled, “For Some Reason People Are Still Depositing Funds To Cryptsy.” In this article, The Merkle reported that customers of the exchange had been experiencing problems with the exchange “over the past few weeks,” including delays in processing withdrawals. The Merkle advised people to be safe when using cryptocurrency exchanges, saying that, “Whenever a problem arises with one of these exchanges regarding getting money out again, people should instantly stop depositing more funds into the platform.”
Vernon took to Twitter on the 16th to inform Cryptsy users that exchange wallets would be offline on Friday, December 18, “for one hour due to equipment changes.” This was the last tweet made by Vernon as of press time.
Reddit user SumatranOrganic made a post on the bitcoin subreddit titled, “The best running theory on what is happening at Cryptsy.” In this post, the user speculated on what Paul Vernon was doing with the coins that seemed to be stuck in limbo at Cryptsy. In short, SumatranOrganic believed that Vernon restricted withdrawals so that he could sell his own coins “at a premium, possibly while arbitraging on other exchanges.” This theory has not been confirmed, and remains speculation at this point.
Reddit user Yunzz warned redditors that Cryptsy chat moderator Jshock was banning people complaining about withdrawal difficulties. Yunzz did not provide any additional details, although there were scattered reports from customers of people getting banned in the Cryptsy chat prior to this reddit post.
CoinTelegraph published an article titled, “Is Cryptsy The Next Mt. Gox?”, in which the author speculates about what could have been going on in the exchange to bring about the withdrawal delays. CoinTelegraph warned readers that, even though many people were not having issues with Cryptsy, trouble could always be around the corner. To reinforce this warning, the writer asked his readers, “Remember Mt. Gox?” To end the article, the author speculated that the troubles surrounding Cryptsy may be due to hack. The article read, “Is it too much of a stretch to suggest there might have been a successful hacker’s attack with far more BTC stolen? So much that the exchange has been forced to play these ugly games with customers?… (sic)’
CoinDesk reported that Cryptsy had suspended trading. The exchange posted a notice on its homepage, informing customers that, “Trade engine and withdrawals paused while we investigate cause of lag. Your patience is appreciated. Thank you.” CoinDesk updated the article on January 6, stating that “Cryptsy has removed the advisory from its main page and trading has reportedly recommenced.”
In the four days between the trade freeze on Cryptsy and the discovery of the team’s disappearance from its Delray Beach, Florida headquarters, reports of withdrawal difficulties continued to roll in. One Reddit user advanced another theft accusation against Cryptsy, saying that “Cryptsy stole all my bitcoin.”
Bitcoinist discovered through an anonymous source that the Cryptsy team vacated its headquarters without notice. Our source made this discovery upon arriving at the building with the intention to visit Paul Vernon. When he got to the headquarters, our source found the building empty. Our source contacted the building manager, who told him that the Cryptsy team moved out a couple weeks ago. The building manager had no further information regarding the company’s whereabouts.
After seeing our report on Cryptsy’s disappearance, a reader posted to facebook stating that he was attempting to withdrawal some funds from the exchange. His withdrawal was confirmed, but could not transfer the bitcoin to an address, and he found that his Cryptsy balance was at zero.
Paul Vernon claims that there is a phishing scam targeting Cryptsy customers.
Bitcoinist will continue to monitor this story and will update this timeline as more developments occur.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay
Evan is the Senior Editor of Bitcoin.com. He has a bachelor's degree in History with minors in Economics and Political Science. When he's not acting like he knows what he's doing in the newsroom, Evan is most likely playing video games. Follow Evan on Twitter @EvanFaggart.
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