Regulator takes action against Nanaimo cryptocurrency exchange

BC Securities Commission also probes the Vancouver-based Einstein Exchange

Bitcoin buttons are displayed on a table at the Inside Bitcoins conference in Berlin on Feb. 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Frank Jordans

Bitcoin buttons are displayed on a table at the Inside Bitcoins conference in Berlin on Feb. 12, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Frank Jordans

The B.C. Securities Commission is investigating complaints against cryptocurrency exchange ezBtc and taking court action to protect customers of crypto-asset trading platform Einstein Exchange — as the websites for both exchanges have stopped loading.

A spokeswoman for the regulator says in an e-mail that it has received several complaints about Nanaimo-based ezBtc.ca, and is commenting publicly because “customer assets are at risk.”

Separately, the commission said Monday that it has received numerous complaints about customers being unable to access their assets on the Vancouver-based Einstein Exchange. A lawyer representing the platform told the commission on Oct. 31 that it planned to shut down within 30 to 60 days “due to a lack of profit.”

The provincial regulator added that on Nov. 1 it applied to the Supreme Court for an order to appoint an interim receiver to protect any assets of Einstein Exchange. The court granted the application and appointed Grant Thornton LLP as interim receiver.

The news comes after the demise of Vancouver-based exchange QuadrigaCX, which sought creditor protection after its founder and chief executive died suddenly late last year leaving its employees unable to locate millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrency.

READ MORE: Widow of QuadrigaCX founder to hand over most assets in settlement

The commission says that to date, no crypto-asset trading platforms have been authorized to operate by the provincial regulator, and do not have the same investor protections as authorized companies.

READ MORE: Cryptocurrency exchange CEO who suddenly died leaves Kelowna house in will

The Canadian Press

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