Blockchain Australia has thrown troubled Melbourne exchange ACX.io out of the organization following a disciplinary process.
The peak body for blockchain based businesses in Australia had come under fire for ACX’s continuing membership, and the prominent display of the ACX logo on the site, even while exchanges users worry about the potential loss of more than a million dollars.
ACX suspended withdrawals and deposits in January blaming a mystery audit. A notice on January 10 stated:
“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,” a notice on the site says.
A number of users report visiting the exchange’s office to find they are closed, and there are reports the ACX hot wallet has less than 1 Bitcoin left.
Emails and phone calls have been unanswered for weeks – including from Micky.com.au and Blockchain Australia.
Another customer also visited ACX’s Melbourne office and found it completely deserted. Bad news. I still have 0.5 BTC and $5,000+ AUD tied up in their platform. Bastards. ACX Co-founder is Sam Lee and the COO is Allan Guo. Pictures attached. See more: https://t.co/hWBpDwBCPg pic.twitter.com/DsIxhRbPSZ
— Jonte (@Jonte_Z) February 18, 2020
Blockchain Australia takes action
In a statement CEO Nicholas Giurietto said that they were disappointing ACX.io had not provided any further information to users and that no “timeline is given as to when the situation is expected to be resolved.”
The disciplinary process was initiated on January 24 under the Member’s Code of Ethical Conduct requesting ACX to show cause why they should remain a member.
No response was received before the formal deadline of February 14.
“ACX are no longer members of Blockchain Australia and the board of Blockchain Australia has resolved not to entertain any request to renew their membership,” Giurietto said.
However the ACX website states in its terms and conditions that ACX refers to multinational company Blockchain Global.
Blockchain Global is also a member of Blockchain Australia and their logo remains on the site today.
Micky has asked Blockchain Australia to clarify if Blockchain Global remains a member and if they will face disciplinary action. We’ll update this story when they respond.
User Jonte Z who has about $12,000 of funds on the platform tweeted earlier today that he fears the worst.
“ACX.IO claims to be going through an audit, however this is false. Based on what I and many others have experienced there is not doubt in my mind they have performed an exit scam. There is less than 1 BTC in their hot wallet right now.”
While this is certainly conceivable, smaller exchanges can shut without warning for numerous reasons.
They often have more lax security procedures than larger exchanges, which make them a target for hackers.
Ever increasing competition in the space means that many are not profitable and the exchange could have simply run out of money.
ACX user Michael Whitehorn, who said he was in a private Facebook group whose members had more than $1 million tied up on the platform, told Micky on January 31 that members believed it was a financing issue rather than a hack or a scam.
Another user has $50,000 tied up
One ACX user wrote an anonymous blog post about being drawn in to use the exchange via Global Blockchain MeetUp events where he’d met co-founder Sam Lee and COO Allan Guo.
“They preached of a new crypto exchange called acx.io backed by the Blockchain global and how confident they are about its operations,” the user wrote.
“I’m ashamed to say I was one of many people who signup for the acx.io after their marketing campaign and lost over 50K AUD at the moment.”
However Lee has reportedly told users that Blockchain Global is only a shareholder and not in control of ACX.
Virtual Pineapple tweeted it has been a hard and potentially expensive lesson to learn. “Not your keys, not your crypto.”
Well sh#% … it’s a hard (and potentially expensive) lesson for me to learn. Not your keys, not your crypto. Hopefully this ends well.
— Virtual Pineapples (@VirtualPineappl) February 5, 2020