“It's Impossible to Refund the Stolen Amount”: Interview with BitGrail’s Francesco Firano
Exclusive interview with Francesco Firano, whose crypto exchange BitGrail lost hosted tokens last week, worth about $187 mln at the time the losses were discovered.
Cointelegraph talked to Francesco Firano, CEO of BitGrail, the Italian exchange apparently hit by a cyber attack that would have caused the loss of a considerable amount of Nano tokens (formerly known as Raiblocks).
The statements of the developers of Nano on the matter, mixed with the understandable anger of users affected by the theft and the dissemination of confusing information, have generated a climate of strong hostility towards the team of BitGrail, then resulted in serious threats and intimidating messages.
Avviso importante— Francesco The Bomber (@bomberfrancy) February 11, 2018
Tutti quelli che mi minacciano di morte, potrebbero farlo ordinatamente sotto a questo tweet? Inizia a diventare stancante cercare in tutti i miei post.
“All those who threaten me with death, could they do it neatly under this tweet? It starts to get tiresome looking in all my posts,”
Francesco The Bomber (@bomberfrancy) 11 February 2018.
Today, Feb. 13, the BitGrail team has published an update on their website and the status of the investigations. The statement reads:
"We reiterate that we have filed a regular complaint to the competent authorities reporting the information regarding the hacks and the exploited bugs (not attributable to our software)."
BitGrail, explained, that during the communications with the developers of Nano, they have not managed to set a good dialogue.
"We have filed a further complaint about aggravated defamation in the press (as the newspapers all over the world have reported their defamatory statements) against the developers of Nano."
Cointelegraph: How does the BitGrail team respond to allegations that it tried to cover up the theft through requests to the Nano team?
Francesco Firano: We, unlike them, have nothing to hide. We are not forced to defame, making accusations without evidence. I can see they're very stressed by this matter.
CT: What progress are you making towards the resolution of this matter?
FF: First of all, we are trying to understand how to proceed from a legal standpoint. Once we understand what we can and cannot do legally, we'll proceed.
CT: How would you comment on the reaction from the international community on this matter?
FF: No comment, it comments itself.
CT: Have you planned a possible solution already for the funds lost by your customers?
FF: When it's ready, we'll communicate it to our customers.
CT: Do you expect to find a refund solution for the customers, even if the Nano team decides not to cooperate?
FF: No, it's impossible to refund the stolen amount.
CT: We learned that someone published your personal home address online. Can you confirm this actually happened? Have you been threatened?
FF: Threats and addresses are in plain sight by now in my posts everywhere.
CT: Some members of the community asked if your team already knew about the security flaw and if you were working to fix it. What would you say to these users?
FF: Baseless and malicious accusations are done by the Nano dev team. The truth is their block explorer is dated Jan. 19, the date of the theft. Since RaiBlocks have no timestamps on the chain, we cannot really find out when it actually happened other than rely on the block explorer, which, as already shown by the private conversation they disclosed, is totally unreliable.
CT: Why did you ask the Nano team for ledged modification?
FF: I'll report an extract of the chat that the Nano team disclosed without authorization.
"The Bomber, [08.02.18 19:30]
are you thinking about how we can solve this situation?
The Bomber, [08.02.18 19:32]
One solution can be, I give you BitGrail with all wallets and db, and you fork the burned transaction to refund users
The Bomber, [08.02.18 19:32]
the alternative is that this money is probably lost forever
The Bomber, [08.02.18 19:39]
guys, I understand it's a shock to everyone, but we must try to solve the problem and communicate something to users."
As you can see, our only intention is to refund the users who took some serious damage. And, as our conversation shows, I proposed to take a step back and let them manage the entire exchange until the resolution of the problem.
Instead, the Dev Team started to spread statements where they accused me of wanting to cover up the whole thing.
CT: In some posts, users say that the transfer of Nano may have started way before your announcement. What would you say to these users?
FF: First, they don't have the complete data (it is only available to us and law enforcement authorities). And secondly, we cannot rely on the official explorer developed and managed by the Nano dev (proved flawed), which is, to this day, the only way to determine the date of the transactions.
The interview was conducted in collaboration with Cointelegraph Italian franchisee, Matteo Vena and Cointelegraph managing editor, Lucrezia Cornèr.