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May 3, 2018
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‘Hacked’ Crypto Exchange BitGrail Shuts Down 3 Hours After Re-launch

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Italian cryptocurrency exchange BitGrail has once again suspended operations after briefly re-opening most of its trading markets on Tuesday.

The exchange, which has been immersed in controversy since 17 million Nano tokens (XRB) — now worth approximately $140 million — went missing in February, re-opened trading for all coins except XRB at 10:00 UTC.

By 13:20, the platform had once again been shut down — this time allegedly in response to a court order.

“This morning, following the re-opening, we were notified of a deed by the court of Florence requesting the immediate closure of BitGrail and this situation will persist until a decision is made by the courts, about the precautionary suspension request made by the Bonelli law office on behalf of a client,” BitGrail wrote in a statement. “The decision is scheduled for May 16 2018.”

The statement indicated that the request originated with BonneliErede, an Italian legal firm that last week filed a petition on behalf of a BitGrail creditor seeking to force the company into bankruptcy.

BitGrail owner Francesco “The Bomber” Firano maintains that the “unauthorized transactions” that removed the tokens from the exchange occurred due to a fault in the Nano protocol, but developers — who once had a close working relationship with Firano — claim that the exchange had been insolvent long before the hack but that the exchange had concealed this fact as long as possible.

“To date, all reliable evidence we have reviewed continues to point to a bug in BitGrail’s exchange software as the reason for the loss of funds,” the Nano Foundation wrote in an April update.

The Nano Foundation has sponsored a legal fund for BitGrail victims and has committed to match up to $1 million in donations to the fund.

Meanwhile, Firano has decried attempts to force the company into bankruptcy, arguing that it will lead to the “worst possible outcome for everyone involved” and ultimately won’t help victims recover their lost funds.

Previously, an alleged victim filed a class action lawsuit against Nano itself, seeking to force developers to adopt a “rescue fork” to recover the lost funds.

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

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