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Crypto exchange iCE3 to be liquidated, suspends all withdrawals

Appears to have suicided itself, with its public admission in March of account balance ‘discrepancies’ prompting a rush by clients for the exit door.
The exchange removed its Facebook presence, resulting in clients launching their own page to post updates and share information. Image: Moneyweb

Crypto exchange iCE3 posted an announcement on Monday that it had been “advised to initiate liquidation proceedings” after suspending all trading on the exchange in March following the discovery of account discrepancies.

It has also suspended the withdrawal of client funds. This comes just a week after informing clients that it would process withdrawal requests for all cryptos and rands, with the exception of bitcoin and litecoin.

Several iCE3 clients contacted Moneyweb saying their requests for withdrawals have not been processed. On Monday, they were greeted with a terse announcement that the company would suspend all withdrawals and initiate liquidation proceedings.

It remains unclear why all but bitcoin and litecoin withdrawal requests were processed, as these are likely to make up the bulk of cryptos held in client accounts on the exchange.

Client draws a blank

One iCE3 client, who asked not to be named, told Moneyweb he has been trying for several weeks to withdraw his crypto, to no avail. “Up until Monday I was receiving communications from the company and was told my request for withdrawal was in the queue. Then suddenly things went quiet when the company posted a message saying that withdrawals had been suspended and the company was going to be put in liquidation.

“I’m worried that I am going to lose what I have built up in my account.”

iCE3 removed its Facebook presence, resulting in clients launching their own Facebook page to post updates and share information. “Since the ICE3x management have abdicated their responsibility in managing the narrative around this issue, this page has been created as a hub for people to share strategies about the way forward and status updates around the problems we face with the failures at their exchange,” says the welcome message on Facebook.

Not one of the bigger players

Moneyweb reached out to iCE3 founder Gareth Grobler for clarification but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

Though iCE3 is reckoned to have about 80 000 client accounts, a small percentage of these are active, making it a relatively minor player in the local crypto space.

The reasons given for the suspension of trading on the exchange in March were an apparent dispute with Austrian technology partner Merkeleon.com and its subsidiary Coinspaid.com.

The company appears to have suicided itself with its public admission in March of account “discrepancies in the balances pertaining to bitcoin and litecoin” – prompting a rush by clients for the exit door.

The statement by iCE3 in March reads: “On the advice of our legal & auditing team, we have suspended all Deposits & Trading. Furthermore, we have suspended BTC [bitcoin] and LTC [litecoin] withdrawals with immediate effect, pending the outcome of a full investigation and reconciliation. This is being done for the protection of all clients.”

iCE3 clients whose funds have not been paid out are now concerned that their fate lies in the hands of the liquidators, and it may take years before they know whether they will receive anything back.

iCE3 was established in 2013 and was one of the oldest exchanges in the country. The failure of a crypto exchange in a sector endeavouring to build public trust has been met with alarm by some in the industry.

“It is obviously very unfortunate to hear of the closure and liquidation of any crypto exchange,” says Farzam Ehsani, founder and CEO of crypto exchange VALR.

“I’m not aware of the details of what has happened, but I hope that a favourable resolution can be found for all parties involved.”

The latest statement from iCE3 reads:

We regret to inform you that the platform will not return to operation and that we have been advised to initiate liquidation proceedings. 

All withdrawals from the platform have been disabled, and we have processed the withdrawals which have already been submitted via the form today, manually. 

We currently have no withdrawal requests pending for any currencies other than BTC and LTC. 

We will provide further details and next steps during the course of the day tomorrow (07/04/2021) 

As always we can still be reached via help.ice3.com or email us help@ice3.com (please be conscious of the fact that staff are operating under extreme pressure at the moment, and can only provide assistance as directed. We understand your frustration but please be respectful when communicating with service desk staff) 

Please do not create multiple tickets or make use of multiple channels to make contact as this only increases the workload and amount of tickets the team needs to go through, which delays the operations significantly. 

Thank you for your support and patience. 

Kind regards

The iCE3 Service Desk Team

This story will be updated when we receive more information.

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COMMENTS   19

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Amazing that grown men still fall for these scams…

Agree.! If its too good to be true…

Indeed yes. Many have fallen. Driven by the fear that they’ll “stay behind” with technology, if they don’t embrace crypto….because its toted as “the future of money”.

FIAT is in any case 92% digitized globally (i.e. 8% is hard cash). That’s good enough for me.

For example, today I’ve spend time on the web; SARS; online banking; twitter feed; excel sheets; operated various smartphone apps; opened my car with remote key & started ignition; checked by share trading account; sprayed a mozzie with Doom, used the laser-printer, switched between Wifi-routes, watched a recording on a DSTv channels…and guess what: NOWHERE was blockchain needed to be involved 😉

You forgot to mention your fax machine and Autopage 🙂

There is a lot of truth in repeating lies and believing. Fairy tales to become rich with accumulating software have the same effect.

Be assured that crypto is not a scam and also be assured your returns with fiat would be negligible compared to crypto. Your choice of course where you want to invest.

Like all investments, one just need to do ones homework. There are a number of reputable and trusted crypto exchange. Deviating from these ones can come with risk.

I’m sure they said the same about tulips and subprime mortgages. The price is only going up because naive people are pouring their money in. When the pouring stops, watch what happens next…
Do you really think something so volatile is a good store of value? Do you really think something that changes it’s value so fast is a good unit of exchange? Of course if you’re assuming to make money out of speculative moments, then you can surf these waves. But unlike real waves, you just don’t know what the bitwater is going to do next. And by the way, “your returns with fiat” are not actually returns from fiat unless you’re in an interest-bearing account. The returns are actually from the asset you exchange your fiat for.

The returns “investors” got from Krion and MTI also completely dwarfed those that could be had from ordinary (“fiat” (sic)) investments.

Until it all came tumbling down. And then the Krion “investors” also had liquidators knocking at their door, demanding that they pay the returns back.

But….but….but….how’s this even possible? Crypto is so “safe?” Blockchain is a secure distributed ledger and the individuals are in control….aren’t they? It’s not as if there’s any government interference as there is with fiat money.

Increasingly, crypto-so-called-currency and blockchain can be described with one word: scams.

@Incitatus. Indeed worrying. And you have a Masters in Computer Science if I recall. I’ve always held the belief that blockchain is not free of control (…yes, it may be free of Fiat/Central Govt control….but crypto remains “controlled”…simply by others: your large whales / those that sit with gigantic computing power.)

So while the crypto ‘investor’ is free from Fiat / central govt control, it’s still controlled/manupilated by large whales. Control is just handed from a known party to another (less known) parties.

Then there’s the issue of ‘trust’ in the crypto system, but not trust in the true sense of the word.

Besides, blockchain looks like a solution looking for a problem to solve *lol* Even when I press my car’s central locking key and turn the ignition, blockchain is nowhere involved (thank goodness for that, as I want to drive away without delay…)

…they say “mutual trust” is designed into the blockchain system.

If this is an example of ‘trust’, then I don’t want it.

Obviously theft!!

Oh but in SA theft is not a crime. The anc government does it all the time and nothing happens.

Ag nee not another one !!!!

Like this one “I’m worried that I am going to lose what I have built up in my account.”

Never mind what you have built up you will be lucky to get anything back and at best your capital.

What is also baffling is, these scams are stealing billions and not even a whisper in the main stream media. The amounts make CIT robberies look like pick pockets.

I like how they add ‘kind regards’ at the end of the statement. It’s like them saying, with a smile, “thank you to all the gullible idiots for all the free money you gave us”

…reminds me of an old Lufthansa Airline joke, which has just crash-landed into the sea & drifting.

A cabin announcement is made: “Ziss ist your Kapitan speaking”

“Those sitting on the right-hand of the isle, you’ll find a life-jacket underneath your seat…”
…..and those on the left side of plane, well, thank you for flying with Lufthansa”.

😉

De fi is the money of the future..The rand has lost 99.9% of it value In the last 50 years. All fiat at some stage becomes worthlessness. A wheelbarrow ful of notes for a loaf of bread. No bank charges instant no cost. No governments no tax man. Really. And the ledger technology doesn’t allow false transactions. Don’t blame defi for people with no intrigrity.

Extract from the lyrics of “Cash Money” by Dr Alban:

With cash money you can get anywhere you want
You are welcome to pay in Dollar nor Pounds
Swiss Francs, Deutsch Mark, Swedish Crowns
Ha ha with credit cards of course
In times of inflation and hard times
The only answer is a thing, cash money..

Cash Money may be old school, but it talks the loudest.. Like a good old classic Revolver, or a Zippo lighter, or a vintage refrigerator.

“….account balance DISCREPANCIES…”

Blockchain…the incorruptible digital ledger, they say. Cannot trace these discrepancies?

End of comments.

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