The battle over who was at fault when millions of nano (XRB) vanished from an Italian cryptocurrency exchange earlier this year rages on. In the latest twist to the story, the Nano Foundation is launching a legal fund to support the victims and says it will match up to $1 million in donations.
Stepping back, in February 2018, 17 million XRB, worth $170 million at the time, went missing from BitGrail, rendering the exchange insolvent. Accusations and speculation followed. BitGrail owner Francesco Firano (better known by his pseudonym “the Bomber” on social media) insisted the problem stemmed from a bug in Nano, while the Nano team pointed their fingers at BitGrail. Meanwhile, the victims of the breach were left to wonder whether this was a planned exit scam or an outside hack.
Some of the victims placed the blame on Nano, and on April 6, 2018, a class action lawsuit was filed, charging Nano (formerly RaiBlocks) and its core team members with selling securities and alleging that the team encouraged investors to open accounts on the distressed and unknown BitGrail exchange. The class action is also seeking a court ordered “rescue fork” to return funds lost in the hack.
Now, in what appears to be a direct response to the lawsuit, the Nano Foundation announced on a Medium post on April 9, 2018, a fund to support the victims of the breach in their legal efforts to reclaim those funds. “We felt it was important to help ensure that victims who could not afford their own representation would receive the same quality of representation as those who could,” Nano Foundation wrote.
Nano claims it reached out to Espen Enger, a citizen of Norway, who now represents over 1,400 BitGrail victims throughout February 2018. (Enger, himself a victim of the breach, posted a March 12, 2018 video update of his efforts on YouTube.)
After a series of discussions, Nano says it “became confident that Mr. Enger was the best-prepared person to manage a legal fund and a large group of BitGrail victims in their pursuit of justice in Italy.” Shortly thereafter, Nano met with Enger and the Italian law firm BonelliErede.
As a result of these meetings, the Nano Foundation decided to match the contributions of the victims to the legal fund established by Enger up to $1 million. The hope is the gesture will encourage a windfall of donations and establish a total legal fund valued at $2 million.
So far, the victims represented by Enger have raised over $300,000 in a variety of currencies; Nano’s contributions will raise that to $600,000. Nano claims the legal fund will be spent solely on behalf of the victims in their efforts to pursue their legal interests in connection with the BitGrail insolvency.
“Mr. Enger has assured us that any money remaining after those efforts will be returned to the victims,” Nano said in the statement, adding, “Beyond the donations we make, Nano Foundation will not have any access to or control over the funds.”
Nano also says future updates regarding the victims’ legal actions will come from Enger. Meanwhile, Nano continues to hold its ground, stating: “To date, all reliable evidence we have reviewed continues to point to a bug in BitGrail’s exchange software as the reason for the loss of funds.”