igot is a bitcoin exchange based in Australia who has been plagued with issues for over a year now with customers complaining on social media and forums about long delays in withdrawing funds from the exchange, with little to no communication from igot which has fueled customer frustrations and led customers and media to draw their own conclusions, for example that igot is no longer solvent or running some sort of scam.
In July the issue came to a head and igot provided a response in a CoinDesk article stating they were suffering from banking problems due to compliance issues and DDoS attacks. Unfortunately, the issues have sparked up again, with more customers voicing their opinions on social media recently about long delays, or not being able to withdraw funds at all.
Rick Day responds with more details
Due to this, we reached out to igot founder and CEO Rick Day and asked for an update on what is going on with igot, which he provided to us. In an email response, he said that the banking issues are still happening, and fraudulent transactions continue to cause igot problems. Day said:
One of the biggest issues that we have with delays is banking relationships. Banks are still not very open to idea of bitcoin companies and this means we’re put through rigorous compliance with them. Any fraud or suspicious transaction can trigger this. This is exactly what has happened with us.
We’ve had a few incoming fraud transactions into our account in Australia. The person sending the funds basically used stolen bank accounts to fund igot wallets and withdraw bitcoin and disappear. It is important to know that Australian Privacy Laws mean that the receiver of funds (into bank account), does not see who sent this money. The review process from banks is not fast. It takes some time for them to gather all facts and come to a decision. We had some of our main accounts restricted. These accounts were the lifeline of business. Because of restrictions, we simply could not access funds from those accounts.
Because banks are risk averse, it takes some time. For us, we started this company and built a name for ourselves in the past year and we’re committed to this company and serving our customers. Banks have so far been very cooperative and we’ve assisted them with their investigations.
This particular issue has affected fiat withdrawals. At the same time, when bank accounts get locked, bitcoin withdrawals are affected as well. For future deposits, we will be requiring a mandatory video call for deposits over certain amount. This might inconvenience some customers, but then, we will not have such fraud transactions.
Recently, several bitcoin exchanges in Australia had their banking accounts and services shut downdue to compliance issues as well. Day also stated that “banks [have been] sitting on our funds for a long period of time while they investigate.” He went on to say that “we are working on clearing backlog as soon as we can. We expect every single customer to receive their bitcoin very soon.”
We posed some additional questions to Day to try to get to the bottom of what has been happening at igot over the past year, asking specifically if igot is an elaborate ponzi scheme in any way shape or form. Day answered:
No point in running a ponzi scheme. I’ve had really good upbringing. I didn’t start this site to run a scam or a scheme. We spent over a million dollars to build this. Bitcoin community is very small and its obvious that people think so when their withdrawals are pending for weeks. But you know what? I am still here. My team is still here and we are working 24 hours a day to resolve the issues. Our daily volumes hit as much as 1200 bitcoin a day in December and January. If there was any intention to run a scam site, we would have disappeared then. It doesn’t add up!
Our business model is solid. Our revenue model is solid. Why would anyone in their right mind risk it all for some low life ponzi scheme?
Unfortunately, there are many people on internet and social media who somehow think they are experts in everything. They make these expert comments without knowing the details. They form their opinion based on other comments. We see a lot of new accounts pop up on twitter and reddit just to aim at igot. When we reach out to these people to tell us their customer id so we can resolve their issue, they simply say — I won’t give it. My suspicion is that lot of these guys are not even igot users. More so igot competitors taking advantage of the issue. Another issue is that people are quick to tweet when their money is delayed, but would never update the community when they get their money or Bitcoin, so, to the outside world it looks like that matter is unresolved. But that’s not the case.
I challenge those people who call us a scam or Ponzi scheme to prove it in the court of law.
In addition, Day lamented that igot has done some things in which they could have done better, such as communication with customers, which he said “we apologize” for not having “better communication with our users.” He said that he will be working with his team to better manage these sorts of crisis in the future, and is looking forward to showing his customers the upcoming changes in how igot operates in the near future.
As part of clearing the backlog and communicating with their customers, Day said they are encouraging users who received their withdrawals to tweet about it. igot has setup a contest page for users to enter to try to win 1 btc.
@iGotcom I got my bitcoin from igot.com today! #iGotMyBitcoin. Please retweet.