Global Bond Limited (GBL), a self-proclaimed government registered Bitcoin trading platform, has shut down unexpectedly on October 26 leading to speculations that the trading platform was a scam and scammers have vanished along with Bitcoins valued at $4.1 million.
GBL was launched back in May this year and its domain btc-gbl.com was registered on May 9. There were instant reactions from users indicating that though the platform is being promoted as being based out of Hong Kong, the servers are located in Beijing. Those with a keen eye found that there was no straightforward contact information on the website and that they were using marketing content from other websites.
However, these negative comments and feedback didn’t stop over 1000 investors from using the trading platform notes The Standard. The Bitcoin trading platform started issuing stocks to its users and in early October introduced caps on the total withdrawals that can be processed at any given time – a measure to ensure that it held huge amounts of the virtual currency for itself. Come October 26 and the site just vanished without a trace along with 30 million Yuan ($5 million US) of nearly 500 investors.
There has been no official word from the owners of GBL; however, according to its users when they tried to logon to the site, they were greeted with a single message that the site has suffered from a security breach and that users will be getting their money into a designated account notes ZDNet. Users even went to GBL’s registered offices in Hong Kong and they were completely empty at the time.
This is not the first time that a Bitcoin trading platform has shuttered. According to a study conducted by Tyler Moore of Southern Methodist University and Nicolas Christin of Carnegie Mellon University, 40 Bitcoin trading platforms have been setup in the last 3 years out of which 18 have been shuttered. TradeHill is one of the best examples of this.
Out of these 18, 13 closed without any prior warning and 5 fell to hacker attacks. Out of the 18, only 6 have ever issued a refund to its users.
Just a few days back a security breach which led to closure of Inputs.io with hackers stealing as many as 4100 BTC valued at over $1 million.