Bitcoin exchange Poloniex recently notified users of changes to the site’s terms of use, triggering some degree of alarm on the /r/bitcoinmarkets subreddit.

"While Poloniex did not highlight the changes that were made, Reddit user NLNico parsed the document and composed a long list. There are some surprising changes, including bizarre items such as a claim to own anything that a user writes about the exchange on its social media accounts."

Users are also required to agree not to use a web crawler to access any of their pages and are informed that stop loss orders may not execute.

At the user’s expense

Additionally, there is such boilerplate as “Poloniex does not allow users to exchange tokens for money” and requiring users to agree that they will not use the site for any illegal activity. Poloniex would also like users to know that trading is risky and they could lose money.

Probably most important of all, Poloniex states that they make no claims or guarantees about coins’ underlying networks and that there is no certainty that they’ll distribute forked tokens in the event that a chain split occurs on any network.

This presumably gives them legal cover for choosing not to distribute Bitcoin Cash to holders of Bitcoin on the exchange.

Coming immediately before the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, this terms of use update is quite curious. The specific language used in the revised terms of use is: “you will have an opportunity to withdraw Tokens on at least one of still existant (sic) underlying networks.”

The implication is that, in the event of a network fork, Poloniex is only responsible for providing users with one of the tokens, not necessarily both resulting tokens.

Under fire

Some on Reddit have argued that by changing their terms of use in this way, Poloniex could keep all Bitcoin Cash created from the fork, potentially selling it themselves. As Bitcoin Cash is currently worth hundreds of dollars, this would represent a significant source of profit for Poloniex.

Poloniex has come under fire lately, with rumors circulating that they are on the verge of insolvency. Many users have also noted the slow response of customer service staff at the exchange.

Users have also been experiencing delays of nearly a month when attempting to withdraw funds from the exchange. Recently Poloniex announced that it was closing its infamous “trollbox” in order to repurpose its staff to respond to customer tickets.