Aussie exchange freezes ‘$1m+’ of user funds in mystery audit

Users of an Australian Bitcoin exchange are worried they’ll lose their funds after withdrawals were suspended due to a mysterious ‘audit’.

The Melbourne based ACX has stopped processing withdrawals and deposits, blaming an ‘audit process.

Users say they’ve been unable to access their funds – or even contact ACX – for weeks now. There are also reports the Melbourne office has been closed.

ACX user Michael Whitehorn told Micky the issue had been going on for at least four weeks.

Whitehorn is in a private Facebook group of 25 users who had all complained to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and were trying to find a resolution to the issue.

“Collectively that small group has $1 million plus exposed based on my estimates,” he said, adding that figure is just “the tip of the iceberg”.

Whitehorn said the group believes it’s a financing issue rather than a hack or scam.

ACX incommunicado

There has been no communication from ACX other than a message on the site that says simply: “Dear ACX customers we are going through the audit process with ACX hot and cold wallet. During this time, the deposit and withdrawal functions will be temporarily disabled.”

While Twitter user David McCann complained in December he’d been unable to withdraw for months, another Twitter user Alex R, said that after trying to withdraw his funds numerous times and complaining to ASIC, he finally recovered his funds in mid January.

Coinmarketcap says ACX had $31,000 of volume in the past 24 hours.

Blockchain Global yet to respond

Micky’s attempts to contact the Melbourne office of multinational company Blockchain Global – ACX’s parent company according to the website – were unsuccessful.

From the terms and conditions on ACX website

The founder of Blockchain Global is Sam Lee, a well known figure in the Australian and Chinese crypto communities who was instrumental in setting up the Blockchain Centre in 2014 as well as the Distributed Technologies Institute.

Micky has seen one screenshot, purportedly from Lee to an ACX user, saying that Blockchain Global is just a shareholder in ACX and has ‘no operational visibility’.

ACX is a member of Blockchain Australia, which yesterday released a statement saying it was aware of the concerns:

“Although Blockchain Australia has no enforcement or regulatory authority in this matter, we have been in contact with ACX to urge that they resolve this situation as swiftly as possible.”

Crypto influencer Bitcoin Babe suggested a more appropriate response was to suspend ACX’s membership.

“They’re currently at the top of your DCE list. As an org that is meant to be a trustworthy source, it doesn’t look great promoting an unresponsive service.”

Blockchain Australia responds

Blockchain Australia CEO Nicholas Giurietto told Micky the organisation hopes to see a quick resolution of the issues.

“We hope that they are temporary and have reached out to ACX to encourage them to act as swiftly as possible,” he said.

“Should that not happen, our Member’s Code of Ethical Conduct includes a process that allows us to take other steps including suspending membership.”

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