The exchange Bitgrail has reported a loss of about $170 million of its primary cryptocurrency, nano. The exchange, which is based in Italy, has been offline for some time and looks to now be shutting down at least their non-European based accounts. This has stirred anger in many of the users as they see this as an exit scam saying the Bitgrail owner is taking nearly 13% of the current supply of nano with him. Since this announcement was released, nano has fallen nearly 20% in value.
The exchange has been the primary exchange for nano which saw an astronomical end of 2017. In early December it was trading around $0.20 and within a few weeks was at $35, posting gains of near 17,500%. The Bitgrail exchange was just a small time exchange barely staying afloat until money poured in from nano. The rapid success makes many question whether there truly was a hack or if the owner is jumping ship while things are hot. The trading from nano comprised nearly 85% of trading on Bitgrail.
When Bitgrail reported the hack on January 29th they also announced they were freezing all account withdrawals.
Two weeks later they released a notification saying:
Bitgrail has remained adamant that this was a hack rather than a theft on their part. They have cited the reasoning behind the exchange closure is due to Know Your Customer compliances they could not meet. Bitgrail will be closing all foreign accounts in 2 weeks if they are not yet closed. While users still can not withdraw nano, they can exchange it for bitcoin to liquidate their account or transfer their holdings with bitcoin to another exchange.
Binance has also started trading for nano recently but they are limiting deposits and withdrawals until this situation plays out. While from a monetary perspective, $170 million is far from the biggest hack, the near 13% the Bitgrail owner would possess is by far the largest portion of a cryptocurrencies any scam has produced.