For many reading this article, the name ‘Cryptocapital.co’ may not immediately ring any bells. However, its one that you should…
For many reading this article, the name ‘Cryptocapital.co’ may not immediately ring any bells. However, its one that you should familiarize yourself with for several important reasons which we’ll cover in this piece.
According to the initial version of their website:
“Panama based Crypto Capital a Financial Institution is connecting the Fiat and Crypto world together allowing Crypto Currencies to interact with fiat currencies in a similar seamless way.”
However, this definition is a bit too vague to describe what services they truly perform. What they really do is provide custodial and banking services to crypto institutions — namely exchanges.
In specific, they provide services to exchanges that offer fiat withdrawal. They are supposed to take care of the banking needs for the exchanges that they are partnered with by acquiring banking in various jurisdictions and ensuring that customer withdrawals and wires are handled appropriately.
Cryptocapital Co., presents a black swan for two reasons:
A) They represent five major exchanges
B) They are functionally insolvent, which means that the exchanges that they represent are insolvent
The exchanges that CryptoCapital Co represents are:
From the website cryptocapital.co as recently as January 29th, 2018
The consequences of QuadrigaCX, CEX.io, Exmo, and Coinapult being insolvent are not too tremendous. However, Bitfinex’s potential insolvency spells out tremendous repercussions for the entire space.
But before we dig into that, let’s look into the exchanges that were listed above.
QuadrigaCX is a Canadian exchange that had been facing issues with customer withdrawals for the past several weeks.
In what appears to be a culmination/climax of the various troubles that QuadrigaCX has faced, the exchange mysteriously went offline approximately 48 hours ago (January 28th, 2018).
This led many to speculate whether QuadrigaCX was still functionally solvent in the crypto space.
Much of the QuadrigaCX saga has been covered diligently by CoinDesk:
To briefly summarize QuadrigaCX’s exchange troubles:
Issues with customer withdrawals began occurring throughout the latter half of 2018.
Part of the issue with customer withdrawals was due to the fact that the exchange had several million dollars in funds frozen by a Canadian bank. (source: https://www.coindesk.com/crypto-exchange-quadrigacx-awaits-ruling-on-22-million-in-frozen-funds)
Eventually, the crypto exchange was able to recover these funds. However, shortly after it was reported on January 14th, 2019, through the crypto website that the owner and CEO of the exchange, Gerald Cotten, had passed away (source: https://www.quadrigacx.com/gerald-cotten; site is currently down for ‘maintenance’). The announcement was made by Jennifer Robertson, whom is allegedly the wife and partner of Gerald Cotten. According to the message that was posted on the QuadrigaCX website, Gerald Cotten originally passed away on December 9th, 2018.
Despite the widespread publicity surrounding QuadrigaCX’s fight with the Canadian banking system to re-obtain their frozen funds, there remains no independent verification of the death of Gerald Cotten. There is no public obituary or death certificate that has been posted to verify his passing.
On January 28th, 2018, QuadrigaCX’s website went down without explanation. At the time of writing, there is still no definitive reason for why the exchange’s website went down. Those that have spent enough time in crypto or have done their research will notice that the sudden closure of the website is oddly reminiscent of the events preceding Mt. Gox’s eventual implosion.
Some will point to a document that has been circulating social media recently as evidence of Gerald Cotten’s passing.
The document appears as such:
What is presented in the image above is a petition on behalf of the ‘estate of Gerald Cotten’. This terminology is typically used when making decisions on behalf of a deceased individual.
However, there are a few facts that contradict the claim that this is verifiable evidence of the CEO’s passing:
A) This court document is merely a notarized submission. In other words, the court stamp in the upper left hand corner of the document is not a testament to the document’s veracity or accuracy. Additionally, there is no potential penalty of perjury for submitting incorrect/inaccurate information on this document.
B) The document specifically states that the estate is entitled to approximately 42% of the shares/equity in QuadrigaCX. However, this is not an ownership stake. Therefore, the remaining members of QuadrigaCX’s board/shareholders should have been able to make executive decisions in order to keep the exchange running.
C) The document is dated January 22nd, which is a month and 13 days beyond the alleged death of Gerald Cotten. For an allegedly ‘urgent matter’, the submission in the document is in no way timely.
D) Typically, a petition is not needed in the instance of an individual passing away. Board seats are almost always passed on to surviving family members in accordance to will or precedent to receive in lieu of a well-defined will. In this case, Gerald Cotten’s wife should have been able to assume his equity without trouble.
In either case, when examining the website’s sudden closure for ‘maintenance’, and lack of updates on any of QuadrigaCX’s social media, it is safe to say that QuadrigaCX is probably insolvent at this present moment in time.
CEX.io is a bit smaller than the ‘top’ exchanges in the space, so it has not received as much attention. However, it is very much still a part of the ecosystem and does deserve mention.
In particular, the exchange’s Reddit has become a hotbed for user complaints regarding withdrawals. Most have gone largely unaddressed and unanswered.
Interestingly, CEX.io has also removed all withdrawal options on their website in the past week.
It is unknown if and/or when these withdrawals will ever become available again.
The website, Coinapult.com, is a bit simpler to cover.
The website went down without any forewarning on December 10th, 2018.
Despite the notice stating that they have ‘temporarily’ paused their services, the length of their closure has long since breached the point of ‘temporary’.
Thus far, it has been 51 days since the site and its services were in full operation.
The status of Exmo is hard to ascertain simply for the fact that hardly anyone uses the exchange.
The only notable news that has come from Exmo exchange was the kidnapping of the exchange’s owner a little over a year ago:
He was eventually returned after paying a $1 million ransom in bitcoins. Given the fact that this event happened amidst the peak of the cryptocurrency craze in 2017, the news was seen as no surprise.
However, in hindsight, the story renders itself as quite bizarre.
This is the part that is most relevant to the article’s heading. Specifically because CryptoCapital Co’s insolvency would mean Bitfinex’s insolvency. Bitfinex’s insolvency would mean that Tether is effectively insolvent as well since the two companies are intertwined with one another (under the same ownership and umbrella company, iFinex Ltd.).
Some may remember an article that was posted in mid-2018 by the author of this post.
It was titled, ‘Uncovering the Real Cartel in Bitcoin’.
In it, there were several revelations made about Bitfinex’s relationship with Crypto Capital Co.
Below, is a summary of the important connections (for those that do not want to read the article):
A) The following article by TrustNodes (published in November 2017) details Bitfinex’s Polish bank account that was hosted by a company registered in Panama:
B) The following screenshot was taken by an individual that had received it from Bitfinex after requesting to wire Euros to fund their account on the exchange’s site:
Screenshot of Bitfinex’s banking details at the end of 2017
C) We see that the account that Bitfinex was trying to receive payments to was called, ‘CRYPTO SP. ZO.O.O’. This bank account was also related to the Cex.io exchange as well. Below is a screenshot from a user that has requested to make a deposit to the CEX exchange:
D) By digging into Poland’s banking records, it was discovered that the bank account ‘Crypto SP Z.O.O’ (which Bitfinex and CEX.io were using to receive deposits) is owned by Crypto Capital Co. :
Unfortunately this image is a bit grainy. Higher resolution images can be provided upon requested. The necessary information should be legible though.
For those that are still confused as to what the significance of the relationship is between the two entities, the following post is a very informative and in-depth breakdown of how the relationship between these entities is conducted:
In a nutshell, Crypto Capital Co. is responsible for providing the payments for each of the exchanges listed on their site:
Cryptocapital Co.’s job is to ensure proper banking, remittance of payments through the exchange, and manage customer withdrawals/deposits.
However, as mentioned in the explanatory post above, Cryptocapital Co. has been forced to use numerous different banks and payment processors.
But despite the users claims that the funds are “eventually returned”, this does not appear to be the case.
In specific, it does not seem likely that the funds will be returned to the Polish account. The article cited below explains why pretty succinctly:
As CryptoCapital Co has struggled to acquire sufficient banking, so have its partners.
As outlined above, every exchange listed on their website has suffered from withdrawal issues or simply shut down.
Bitfinex is no exception. The only difference between Bitfinex and the others is that Bitfinex’s website is not down and they have publicly acknowledged, in any way, that there are any issues with their exchange despite the flurry of complaints that they are receiving on a near-daily basis on their subreddit (r/Bitfinex).
It only takes a cursory glance at Bitfinex’s Reddit to ascertain the extent of the exchange’s failure to allow successful completion of withdrawals:
The above two images are just a small sample of the litany of complaints about Bitfinex that have littered its Reddit for the past 4–5 months.
Scores of customers have reported similar stories of never receiving their wire transfers after waiting months.
For those that are skeptical of the veracity of these posts, its worth noting that the subreddit’s moderator, a Bitfinex employee that goes by the username, ‘garbis_bitfinex’, has been consistently answering many of these posts with confirmation of the existence of the poster’s ticket number and the status of their complaint.
Below is an example:
When considering Crypto Capital Co’s role as a payment processor for the 5 exchanges discussed in this article (QuadrigaCX, CEX.io, Coinapult, Exmo, and Bitfinex) and juxtaposing that with the fate of each, the writing on the wall seems clear.
QuadrigaCX’s website mysteriously went down for maintenance approximately 48 hours ago (January 28th) after weeks and months of user complaints over failure to receive withdrawal requests that had been processed on the exchange. There has been no explanation from the team and no update on any of their social media platforms in the last several days, even as their sudden closure has garnered widespread attention in the cryptospace with an extraordinarily high level of scrutiny.
CEX.io’s status page is showing that there are no withdrawal options available on the site currently. Though they claim they are ‘working on it’, there is no timetable for the return of these features. All of the withdrawal status downgrades have occurred in the last week.
Coinapult’s website shutdown on December 10th, citing a ‘temporary’ maintenance issue. It has not opened since and there is no timetable on its return.
Exmo still remains relatively under the radar. The exchange’s volume is minimal at best and there is absolutely no community discussion about the exchange. In fact, chatter about the exchange is so low at this point, that there are no verified stories about anyone even interacting with it in 2018 or 2019.
Bitfinex has failed to honor customer withdrawal requests for months, and the litany of verified complaints are now numbering in the hundreds. And those are just the stories that we’re hearing about. There may perhaps be dozens or hundreds more that have been unable to receive a withdrawal from Bitfinex.
It is hard to look at all of these facts in conjunction and not come to the conclusion that Crypto Capital Co., may very well be insolvent.
However, one must also keep in mind that Crypto Capital Co.’s insolvency also means Bitfinex’s insolvency too.
It is currently unknown what impact, if any, that this would have on the space. But it is hard to imagine that Bitfinex is not being strongly impacted by Crypto Capital Co.’s failure to deliver as a payment processor.
At approximately 4 a.m. EST January 30th, the same facts contained in this article were being revealed in live time on the author’s Twitter feed:
During that time, Crypto Capital Co. suddenly de-listed Bitfinex from their list of supported exchanges without explanation.
This event was captured in the following tweets:
Fortunately, however, there is a Google webcache of the page from January 28th, 2019, that shows Bitfinex was still listed on the website at the time.
Here is the link:
The author has not currently verified whether they will be able to acquire a link that shows a more recent timestamp than what is presented in the archive above. However, January 28th, 2019, should prove sufficient enough to show that the removal of Bitfinex from the website appears to be in direct response to public scrutiny following the apparent insolvency of QuadrigaCX.
Therefore, there is no reason to use Crypto Capital Co’s removal of Bitfinex from their website as evidence that Bitfinex has acquired a new payment processor.