Very confusing situation in Turkey where one of the main cryptocurrency buying platforms, Thodex, could be the target of a gigantic fraud case. An estimated 390,000 customers no longer have access to their digital token accounts and are unable to recover the funds, Reuters and Bloomberg report.
The focus of attention was the founder of the platform Faruk Fatih Ozer (27), who allegedly fled Turkey by air last Tuesday. According to authorities and local media, the man allegedly stole all of the clients’ funds, an estimated $ 2 billion. On the platform’s website, teams are rushing to reassure customers while developing another version of the facts that led to this situation.
Two versions of the facts and a CEO on the run
The Demiroren news agency reported that Faruk Fatih Ozer is currently in Albania. His old Twitter account was deleted before a new one appeared in the last few hours with an “official” statement from the CEO of Thodex. In it he acknowledged his current financial difficulties. He wrote :
“So I decided to stay alive and fight, work and pay off my debts […] The day I pay off all of my debts, I will return to my country and go to court. Faruk Fatih Ozer via Twitter.
The police raided the company’s Istanbul offices. Since the problems began on Tuesday, Thodex has presented a very different version of the situation. On the platform, customers learn that “negative information published in the press does not reflect reality”.
The cryptocurrency shopping platform also claims that an “unspecified” partnership has been in place in the past few days, which is the cause of the current issues for “approximately 30,000 affected customers” out of the 390,000 active customers on the platform.
Thodex would have been approached “by renowned banks and funds” about a partnership proposal that would have caused the interruption of transactions for a period of several days. The apology is rarely heard by customers who haven’t received a warning earlier. Given the volatility of cryptocurrencies and local currency inflation, such a cessation of business operations is simply unthinkable.
Booming inflation, an anti-crypto policy
Thodex is not the first cryptocurrency exchange in Turkey. User numbers remain sizeable as more people open an account to buy digital assets and hope to protect their savings from booming inflation.
As Bloomberg recalled, Turkey experienced a March marked by a 16.2% price hike with no financial compensation. More and more people want to buy digital tokens to hope that their economy works and that they don’t suffer from the economic situation.
The Turkish lira is unbeatable and has lost its value against the US dollar for the ninth time in a row. In the first quarter alone, in 2021, the price fell another 10%.
In parallel with this surge in the popularity of digital assets, the state itself is much stricter. Regarding cryptocurrencies, starting April 30th, a new law will ban the use of digital tokens for payments. A first step towards anti-bitcoin and other altcoins regulation.
Regardless of what happens next for Thodex customers, the government has already announced that it will redouble its screw tightening efforts. Erdogan’s chief economic adviser told Bloomberg that the Turkish government would act “as soon as possible,” adding that “Turkey will undoubtedly implement regulations in line with its economy, but it will also monitor global developments”.
The Dogecoin Secret (The Dogecoin Puzzles)
Let’s end at a mysterious point on this matter. Last week the price of Dogecoin ($ DOGE) exploded and the volume exceeded that of Ether in various 24-hour slots. When exchanging Thodex, there were the first suspicions of problems on Twitter.
“Did you notice it on the Thodex platform? They sell Doge for 30% less than the market price and don’t allow you to get them back if you want to resell them. Does it seem like an escape strategy? Does all of this coincide with the rise of Dogecoin? Thodex traded more than $ 500 million in 24 hours, ”a user asked on Twitter on April 17th.
Have you dealt with the Turkish exchange Thodex? They sell Doge 30% below the market price and hold the coins back when you try to reclaim them. Sounds like an escape strategy? Does it all coincide with the doge pump? They traded over $ 500 million worth of Doge in 24 hours. pic.twitter.com/GwLgrqfV80
– Cedric Gerard (@advirtua) April 17, 2021
The platform made a name for itself in the crypto news by posting an entirely different price for their DOGE / TRY pair (the Thodex token). As a result, the service recorded an exceptional transaction volume of $ 500 million in a single day.
In order to accelerate the acquisition of new customers, Thodex also offered in March to receive free Dogecoin tokens for opening an account and an initial purchase transaction. Its website then stated that 4 million DOGEs had been distributed to customers. However, a significant proportion reiterated that the platform had failed to deliver on its promises.