A relatively small cryptocurrency exchange in Canada named MapleChange announced that it was hacked on 28 October 2018, deleting its website and Twitter account with 2,000 followers an hour later. The only way to see MapleChange at this point is with internet archive tools.
The series of Tweets before MapleChange’s claimed hack and subsequent offline mode indicated that the exchange had reduced its fees, causing a surge in trading volume from BTC 1-10 per day to BTC 913 worth USD 5.9 million, the day the supposed hack occurred.
On that day, MapleChange did a temporary maintenance and upgraded to Version 2.0.0. About 18 hours later, it acknowledged that a hack had occurred and that an investigation was underway. 12 minutes after that announcement, MapleChange said that a hacker had withdrawn all funds and refunds could not occur until an investigation was complete.
A mere ten minutes later, the investigation was apparently over, with MapleChange stating that no customers would get money back with a complete shut down of operations. Its website and social media accounts were immediately pulled offline, making it very difficult for anyone to obtain further information. The only evidence that remains of MapleChange’s existence is from screenshots and internet archives like the Wayback Machine.
This sort of situation is reminiscent of Mt Gox. Mt Gox was the biggest Bitcoin exchange during the earliest years that Bitcoin existed. After its infamous hack, it kept trying to operate without alerting users in order to fix the problem but ultimately collapsed. It eventually admitted to the hack but its attempts to cover up caused many people to denounce their actions as an exit scam. Regardless of the speculation, Mt Gox proceeded to perform proper litigation, which should result in partial refunds for customers by 2019.
The situation with MapleChange is different, since it deleted the website and social media accounts so rapidly, after an investigation that took less than an hour. These factors have raised suspicions that the exchange pulled an obvious exit scam.
Although MapleChange has basically said it is done and gone, it remains to be seen if Canadian authorities can track the operators down, at which point legal proceedings will likely ensue.
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