According to the British Columbia Securities Commission (BCSC), the Canadian crypto trading platform, ezBtc, has been engaging in fraudulent activities for the past three years. It has come to light that ezBtc has lied to its consumers about the protection of their personal assets and has instead been funneling the customers’ money to online gambling websites. That is right, instead of keeping their customers’ assets safe and secure, ezBtc transferred incoming Bitcoin and Ether to two crypto gambling websites, and the assets were worth a staggering $13 million as of mid-2019.
However, things only get worse. According to the BCSC’s findings, ezBtc did not maintain custody of its client’s money, and most of the holdings reported by the platform did not exist. To put it another way, to trick its customers, ezBtc has been pretending on its website to have real holding thus acting just like a bank would.
But wait, there’s more bad news! EzBtc has been running under the auspices of a numbered corporation known as 1081627 B.C. Ltd. since 2016, when David Smillie, the only director of the firm, registered it. Furthermore, Mr. Smillie’s whereabouts are unknown as of at least the year 2021.
Early Red Flags
In November 2019, customers noticed something was wrong when the ezBtc.ca website stopped working and they were unable to make any transactions or withdraw any funds. They were led to think that their funds were being stored offline, in “cold storage,” safely under ezBtc’s watchful eye.
The BCSC has issued a summons to ezBtc, instructing the business to attend at its offices on June 27 ahead of any planned hearing. That is if the company wants its side of the story to be heard. The authority claims that ezBtc has committed securities fraud since the contracts it offers to clients are technically futures contracts, which are classified as securities. These accusations, however, have not been proved in a court of law.
Tough Times for Crypto
Even as the cryptocurrency industry reels from the collapses of FTX Trading Ltd. and Celsius Network LLC, it seems that crypto fraud is on the rise. Doug Muir, director of enforcement at the British Columbia Securities Commission, has seen many instances like ezBtc as Canadian regulators crack down on cryptocurrency services.
For crypto users on such platforms, this calls for even more diligence. If you are thinking about getting involved in cryptocurrency, it is imperative that you do your research and comprehend how the industry functions before you do so. In case something seems to be too good to be true, then there is a strong chance that it is not what it claims to be.