Indian bitcoin exchange Coinsecure has denounced its chief strategist officer (CSO) Dr. Amitabh Saxena for siphoning off 438 bitcoins, equating to $3.4 million USD, from the company’s primary wallet. The incident is being dubbed as one of the biggest cryptocurrency thefts in the country to date.
Since the theft, all trading activities have been ceased on Coinsecure, while the exchange’s website only displays two images — a letter informing users about the theft undersigned by the team and the other is the copy of the official police complaint filed by Coinsecure CEO Mohit Kalra.
Coinsecure Will Compensate Users for Loss of Funds
The Delhi-based cryptocurrency exchange stored all its bitcoins in an offline wallet which was only accessible by CEO Mohit Kalra and the accused CSO Dr. Amitabh Saxena. Dr. Saxena had originally divulged to the company that the balance of their private wallet has been zeroed.
Following the theft, the company investigated the matter, eventually realizing that the private keys of the offline wallet were leaked online and the entire transaction history had been erased.
Karla told Times of India, “Private keys should have never been exported online. It looks like a crime committed intentionally.”
Coinsecure acknowledged the hack to its two hundred thousand users via a letter posted on its website. It also has assured its users that their money will be recovered by all means possible. If Coinsecure is unable to recoup the bitcoins, the company shall compensate its users for the loss of funds from its personal coffers.
The letter stated:
“Our system itself has never been compromised or hacked, and the current issue points towards losses caused during an exercise to extract BTG [Bitcoin Gold] to distribute to our customers. Our CSO, Dr. Amitabh Saxena, was extracting BTG and he claims that funds have been lost in the process during the extraction of the private keys.”
Coinsecure Employee Accused of Lining His Own Pocket
However, CEO Kalra judged Dr. Saxena’s narrative to be fishy. Owing to the suspicion, CEO Kalra stated in the police complaint that Dr. Saxena “is making a false story to divert [his] attention and might have a role to play in this entire incident.”
For now, it is uncertain how the investigators will proceed as there is no clear regulatory framework for the crypto sector.
The Coinsecure heist is one of the first cases in the country, but similar cases have recently surfaced in news. Just a week back, Surrey Police arrested Gabriele Pearson, an IT professional, who misemployed his position at his company to steal $70,000 worth of Bitcoin.
Around the same time, a maintenance engineer at a tech company in Beijing stole 100 bitcoins. However, after losing 10 bitcoins to a scam, the delinquent returned the remaining 90 bitcoins to the company.
Do you also suspect the heist to be an inside job? Or is something else afoot? Share your views in the comments section.
Images via Coinsecure, PYMNTS