Hong Kong Bitcoin trading platform vanishes with millions

Summary:As much as 30 million yuan (US$5 million) of investment could be lost in limbo as a Hong Kong-based Bitcoin trading platform vanishes.

When ardent Chinese Bitcoin investors found that they could no longer access the website of Global Bond Limited (GBL) in the early morning of October 26, it was already too late.

Hong Kong Bitcoin trading platform vanishes with millions.

One investor under the pseudonym of South American Vicuna organized an online group for the losing traders and told IT Times on Monday that more than 30 million yuan from 500 investors, many of whom sold homes to get in the virtual currency trade, could never be retrieved.

According to the Vicuna, after the GBL's website shutdown, it left only one message, saying that the site was compromised and investors who want to get back their investment data shall transfer money to a designated account. Now all contacts are not responding, and the company office in Hong Kong is as empty as the traders' pockets.

GBL self-proclaimed that the local government had approved virtual currency exchange back on June 8, and lured buyers in with high leverage rate and high yield. However, the too-obvious-to-ignore trading loophole in its trading system raised concerns, but the "always-winning" traders were too obsessed to get out, according to Vicuna.

Vicuna, who is also the administrator of btcmini.net, another Bitcoin trading platform, is now helping victims scavenge evidence, if there was anything substantial.

Many investors in Shanghai tried to ask the local police to investigate but failed. "When I told them GBL's disappearance, the police asked me what is Bitcoin, and how many coin could people buy with one yuan," said an investor to IT Times.

Vicuna said that at the moment victims could only provide screen captures of transfers, account details, and IP addresses, none of which would be useful without police investigation.

First introduced in Japan in 2008, Bitcoin is a digital currency with high volatility. The speculator magnet is generated by a software program and its trading is not regulated by any authority.

Topics: E-Commerce, China, Emerging Tech, Hong Kong


Liu Jiayi is a Hong Kong-based writer and editor. He produces video stories for Al Jazeera English and Seven News Australia, and also worked as the video editor for the Hong Kong-San Francisco Ocean Film Festival 2012. He is studying under a Master of Journalism Programme at the University of Hong Kong.

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