One of South Africa’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges shuts down

ICE3x, a South African cryptocurrency exchange that has operated since 2013, has announced that it is liquidating the business.

ICE3x was one of South Africa’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges and was the first to offer an Ethereum-Rand trading pair.  The exchange, however, didn’t attract the trading volumes of rival platform Luno.

Luno has also been around since 2013, though it launched as BitX and rebranded to Luno in 2017.

The shutdown of ICE3x comes after it reported that it did not have enough bitcoin and litecoin to cover the amount deposited by users.

ICE3x suspended bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals, together with deposits and trading, on 16 March 2021 while it investigated discrepancies in the bitcoin and litecoin balances held on the platform.

“After consultation and deliberation with our partner and their subsidiary, we have not been able to reach a satisfactory conclusion [to the investigation],” ICE3x stated at the time.

On 18 March, ICE3x reported its preliminary findings.

“We have now collated all the data received to audit bitcoin and litecoin transactions – deposits, withdrawals & trades – with which we do not agree,” it stated.

“Our preliminary findings indicate that we have a shortage for both bitcoin and litecoin and we are reviewing the trading, deposits and withdrawals history as well as cold and hot wallet transaction reports.”

ICE3x said that the process took longer than expected and that they brought in additional accounting resources to help with the task.

While bitcoin and litecoin withdrawals were suspended, all other withdrawals were still being processed, ICE3x said.

Last night, ICE3x announced that its trading platform would not be reopened.

“We currently have no withdrawal requests pending for any currencies other than BTC and LTC,” it stated. On 31 March, it reported 31 pending withdrawal requests.

ICE3x provided a help desk email address on a status page. It asked clients to be conscious that staff are operating under extreme pressure at the moment and can only provide assistance as directed.

“We understand your frustration but please be respectful when communicating with service desk staff,” the company asked.

“Please do not create multiple tickets or make use of multiple channels to make contact as this only increases the workload and amount of tickets the team needs to go through, which delays the operations significantly.”

ICE3x said it will provide further details in due course.

MyBroadband contacted ICE3x founder and director Gareth Grobler for comment, but he did not respond by the time of publication.

Now read: Bitcoin worth R1 billion recovered from Mirror Trading International broker

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One of South Africa’s oldest cryptocurrency exchanges shuts down