There’s light at the end of the tunnel for Cryptopia users. In an announcement on Friday, the digital currency exchange’s liquidators have told the users that they will be able to register claims for their assets by the end of 2020.
Cryptopia suffered a hack in January 2019, losing over $17 million to the criminals. Five months later in May, it shut down all trading and appointed liquidators, admitting that it had been unable to recover from the hack. Since then, close to one million users of the now-defunct platform have been fighting to recover their funds. And now, their victory has edged closer.
In its update, Grant Thornton, the accounting firm that was appointed Cryptopia’s liquidator, stated, “The expectation is the claims process will open by the end of the year with the AML to follow this. Once these two phases are complete, we expect the repatriation process to follow.”
The firm has agreed on a claims portal which it will launch by the end of 2020. Once the portal is up, Grant Thornton will reach out to the 960,000 users requesting for them to file their claims. It will then verify their identities and account information before proceeding to the funds distribution.
The accounting firm also responded to some of the most frequently asked questions as it sought to reassure the users that it was endeavoring to return their funds. On why it has not reopened the exchange to allow the users to withdraw their funds, the firm stated:
We cannot re-open the exchange to return account holders’ coins. The exchange was hacked and the source of the hack is still unknown and is still being investigated by the New Zealand Police. Because of the hack, we have had to re-secure all of the coins in a non-hacked environment prior to undertaking the reconciliation process.
Grant Thornton also revealed that all the users will have to undergo KYC procedures before they receive their funds “as it is a legal requirement in New Zealand.”
In April 2020, a New Zealand court ruled that Cryptopia users are entitled to their funds. The presiding judge described digital currencies as property, assigning all ownership rights to users who had stored funds with the exchange.
However, despite the ruling, repatriation of the funds can’t start immediately “due to the incomplete reconciliation process, AML concerns, and various other legal guidance needed on numerous matters,” the firm stated.