Following Cointelegraph’s coverage yesterday, Bittrex finally made a public statement about the thousands of accounts they’ve disabled. According to Bittrex’s website:
“We occasionally conduct compliance reviews and are working vigilantly to protect our service and our users from harm. As part of a compliance review, we have temporarily suspended certain accounts pending the completion of the review. The total number of suspended, closed, or banned accounts is very limited: less than 0.1% of the total accounts on Bittrex. More than 99.9% of Bittrex accounts are unaffected.”
Of course, everybody realizes that the vast majority of Bittrex’s accounts are working just fine. The problem is that thousands of accounts–the 0.1 percent–were (and still are) disabled.
Real money at stake
Bittrex is based in the US, so it’s understandable that compliance is important to the exchange. After all, the US is a patchwork of different regulations and laws, both at the state and federal levels.
The strange thing, though, is that Bittrex never bothered to inform the customers whose accounts they disabled of what they were doing and why. Some of the users who have emailed Cointelegraph claim to have rather large sums stored on Bittrex. One user pleaded to us:
“Please help me … I have about six Bitcoins in my account … I lose my money :/ Please tell Bittrex to activate my account only for 10 minutes so that we can withdraw our money…please.”
A simple email from Bittrex, either before or immediately after accounts were “temporarily suspended,” would have probably gone a long way toward reassuring users that they would eventually receive access to their funds.
Another user, who posted in the comments of our initial article yesterday, complained of the way Bittrex has handled communication:
“No matter what the reason is: not responding to clients, no explanation, not even one single twitter post. That alone is enough to remove my funds from Bittrex.”
He is correct that, prior to Cointelegraph’s article yesterday, there had been absolutely no public communication at all from the exchange. Likewise, many of the emails we received from Bittrex users complained of tickets that had gone days without being answered, so apparently they never privately communicated with their users either.
Bittrex never replied to our request for comment.
Bittrex also wrote:
“Any reports that Bittrex miscalculated or misapplied its exchange fees, that there is a security problem with the exchange, that Bittrex lost any coins stored on users’ behalf, or that Bittrex is banning people trying to access Slack to discuss the status of their accounts are incorrect. We are committed to making Bittrex a strong, safe, and compliant exchange where people can securely participate in the digital currency economy. We ask for patience from our highly valued customers. As for us, we plan to ‘keep calm, and carry on.’”
Somebody isn’t telling the truth; Bittrex claims that they never banned anybody from Slack who tried to enquire about their accounts, but we’ve received a number of emails claiming that the exchange had done exactly that.
Bittrex is apparently keeping calm and carrying on, but what about the users affected by their move? At the moment, the exchange is either not responding to tickets or is lagging far behind. The latter would not be surprising, as a number of Bitcoin and altcoin exchanges have been hammered with higher-than-usual user support ticket volumes, including Poloniex and Coinbase.
Customers are left wondering if, and when they will have access to their funds. We have asked Bittrex these questions, and if we receive a response, will follow up with our readers.