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COSS, the beleaguered Singaporean crypto exchange, claimed today that it has been acquired—by whom, is anyone’s guess.
The news was the latest in a saga that began early last month when the exchange unexpectedly locked down $2 million of user funds. The company claimed, after the fact, that it needed to shut down while it upgraded its system, and said that investors would not be able to access their accounts for up to a month. Three weeks later the shutdown, which took place on January 8, they’re still locked out.
Neither the company's statement nor Satyarth Mishra, community relations manager at COSS, provided meaningful details about the alleged acquisition—neither the name of the buyer nor the purchase price was disclosed.
“The new team that has taken over has experience with algorithmic trading and has a team of trading technology subject matter experts,” Mishra told Decrypt. With cash finally in hand, COSS will soon be back in action, and stronger than ever, he claimed.
“Their aim will be to ensure COSS has excellent liquidity for traders (which wasn’t always at its best before), a stable platform that is maintained and improved regularly, and addition of product features which will make the trading experience even better,” he added.
A spokesperson had told Decrypt that the exchange lagged far behind its competitors’ technology, and, as a consequence, didn’t have much money running through it.
COSS investors are angry and skeptical
Detractors of COSS would be quick to point out that nothing of substance has materialized since the exchange’s blackout on January 8. Some of the exchange’s 200,000 customers are still concerned that the exchange is running off with their money during the month-long shutdown, or has already done so.
Really? You put in news like that and then no update? Are you crazy? Do you really think you can get away with this exitscam? You'll not...
— Jesper30 (@Jesper3010) February 2, 2020
“We absolutely regret the situation where account balances were frozen and apologise for the situation,” Mishra said. Nonetheless, COSS continues to refuse to reveal the addresses of some of the wallets holding the $2 million. “The wallet infrastructure setup is still being completed,” Mishra said,
Rich Sanders, an investigator at the London-based blockchain forensics and investigation firm, Cipherblade, has produced evidence that suggests COSS could be insolvent, or that its behavior is consistent with scammy exchanges.
Before the exchange shut down, he tweeted a chart purporting to show that COSS had been transferring some funds to Binance, and told Decrypt that the exchange has historically sent far more Bitcoin to Binance than it has ever received, which effectively “demonstrates insolvency,” he told Decrypt in an interview.
Sanders’ interpretation of the shutdown is this: “COSS had way less money than they should (insolvent), shut down stating concerns about mass exodus (insolvent), swept the (small) balance to Binance.”
But Mishra said Sanders is jumping to the wrong conclusions, and that the exchange will not only reopen for business, but under the leadership of a new mysterious, unnamed buyer, will thrive yet again.