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  • J McGlynn and M Bacina

The agony of ACX Exchange customers continues

Updated: May 3

It's been 12 months since the Australian-based digital currency exchange, ACX dramatically stopped responding to users' withdrawal requests and ceased updating the price of tokens on their website, yet customers involved are no further ahead (paywalled) in understanding what has happened to their money.

About a year ago, we wrote about the mysterious shutdown that unfolded after the exchange froze over one million dollars of user's funds, while blaming a "audit" which was never properly explained.

The long running silence of ACX has been noted by the Australian Financial Review which reported:

About 200 [customers of ACX] are understood to have lost as much as $10 million ... ACX has been banned for life by the peak industry body [Blockchain Australia] while the financial regulator AUSTRAC has revoked the digital currency [registration of] the platform. Yet investors still have no visibility over a path to restitution or justice.

The AFR refers to a "licence" of ACX being revoked, which is unfortunately a common misconception, as digital currency exchanges are registered, not licensed, by AUSTRAC.

The public and ACX customers are still left with unanswered questions as it is unclear just what occurred, or indeed what entity was really operating the exchange.

Prior to 5 February 2020, the terms of use on the ACX's website identified Blockchain Global Limited (Blockchain Global) as the operator, yet an unannounced change suddenly named Peak Trading Group Pty Ltd as the operator of the exchange. Peak Trading Group appears to have been registered as a DCE with AUSTRAC but that registration was cancelled on 23 December 2020.

The AFR reported that:

Many [customers] believe they are victims of a well-planned scam and have given up hope of ever getting their money back.

This uncertainty hasn't seemed to hold back Mr Sam Lee, the self described founder of Blockchain Global has made claims that he too "was an innocent victim of the collapse" and "personally reported" the matter to ASIC. Mr Lee has recently been promoting Hyperfund.

Blockchain Global Limited made an undated announcement which contained a detailed explanation of the companies involved in the operations of, while claiming to have no further information concerning what has occurred.

While Blockchain Global has offered to fund legal fees for "the liquidation of all related entities to return consumer funds", given that very few liquidations result in a meaningful return to creditors, it seems until legal action is commenced against those who were operating the exchange, many questions will remain unanswered.


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