The exchange said in an urgent notice on Friday that its chief – whose name was not provided – has been missing for unknown reasons for five days.
As a result, the exchange said the access to its cold wallets that store almost all the crypto assets on IDAX has been restricted and deposits and withdrawals are not allowed. “It is recommended that you refrain from using our all platform services,” the exchange said.
The announcement comes just days after the exchange notified users on Nov. 24 about congestion holding up deposits and withdrawals and that it would no longer provide services to China-based users. It’s not clear what quantity of assets are in the firm’s custody.
It’s also not known, publicly at least, what led to the unnamed CEO’s disappearance. There are signs that IDAX has close ties to a Chinese firm based in Shanghai and has a presence in the city, which has been taken tougher measures in cracking down on crypto exchanges and token sales recently.
IDAX’s official website states that it was founded in 2017 in Mongolia by an entity called the Global Blockchain Research Center (GBC). The GBC’s website also lists IDAX exchange as one of its businesses.
However, public information also shows that the exchange is connected to a company called Nianxiang Group that is based in Shanghai, China.
Currently, the website of Nianxiang Group is not accessible. But indexed Google data shows that the firm’s website before it went down, did say that Nianxiang’s overseas business unit owns the Global Blockchain Research Center.
A profile page of Nianxiang on Chinese news portal Sohu also shows it’s behind the Global Blockchain Research Center.
According to Chinese business registration data, Nianxiang Group is solely owned by an individual called Lei Guorong and is registered in Shanghai. Further, of all the 43 individuals that list IDAX as their employer on LinkedIn, 26 indicate Shanghai is the current location.