Turn on VPN: a married couple from Austria made an exit scam

by in Blockchain News

MCT exit scam

The founders of the cryptocurrency trading platform My Crypto Trade (MCT) completed an exit scam by stealing user funds from the platform. The total damage, according to minimal estimates, amounted to 100 thousand euros in cryptocurrency. Being the moderator of MCT Discord chat for over a year and possessing almost complete information about the platform and its development process, tax79 conducted its own investigation and established the identities of the founders of the project. He told about it to Russian edition ForkLog.

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Instead of marginal “hackers” from third world countries, they turned out to be quite successful members of society from one quiet, prosperous country of Western Europe

The start of everything

The MCT cryptocurrency exchange platform was founded on May 28, 2018. The number of coins traded on it was about 130. As of January 2019, more than 5,000 users were registered on it.

According to tax79, the platform was fully operational, no major software failures were observed. The project over the course of the year was quite evolutionarily developed, new functionality was gradually introduced.

Theft of user assets

On May 14, 2019, the users’ balances unexpectedly disappeared from the platform: all bitcoins and several other well-traded coins completely disappeared.

The official version of the incident was as follows: the main developer, he is one of the founders of the project, allegedly left his laptop unattended in the coworking office for several hours. At the same time, sessions were opened on the laptop to the entire infrastructure of the platform. According to him, one of the coworkers in the office took advantage of the situation and pulled coins from the platform.

At the end of May 2019, the main developer/founder announced that one of his family members fell ill and that he could no longer pay attention to the development of the platform.

At the end of June 2019, the founders announced that the platform is closing in 14 days and further development, possibly, will continue only after a year.

Exit scam investigation

On July 2, 2019, I published my investigation, in which I indicated that the official version of what happened on May 14, to put it mildly, is not true, and on blockchain transactions, I proved that the main developer/founder simply stole funds from the platform

According to him, on May 14 at 13:00 (UTC), the platform’s MCTP wallet began the stacking process, which lasted about 40 minutes. During stacking, user balances began to randomly change. So, the personal balance of tax79 changed twice from 20 thousand to 89 thousand, and then from 89 thousand to 169 thousand.

At about 2:30 p.m. (UTC), the user MCTP balances disappeared from the platform. At 18:24 (UTC), 500 thousand MCTP coins were transferred from the platform to one external address.

At 13:15 (UTC), transactions began, they started from the platform’s bitcoin wallet (in 3 minutes, four transactions were completed for a total of 2.85 BTC).

At about 2:45 p.m. (UTC), the remnants of the user's bitcoin balances disappeared from the platform.

At 15:00 (UTC), the platform became unavailable, and on May 16 returned online with zeroed BTC, WOLF, and XRD wallets. MCTP wallet has been completely disabled.

According to the tax79 investigation, the withdrawal of funds was made to a wallet owned by the founder of the platform.

A few hours after the publication of the investigation, the MCT website became unavailable, all platform accounts on social networks were deleted, and the founders of the platform disappeared in an unknown direction. A few hours after the publication of the investigation, the MCT website https://trade.mct.plus/ became unavailable, all platform accounts on social networks were deleted, and the founders of the platform disappeared in an unknown direction.

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Founder Disclosure

As it was established by tax79, the founders of MCT turned out to be a married couple from the Austrian city of Innsbruck Andreas Kaltenhuber and Carina Fontan.

They are currently the founders of the PushPanda.io small software development office.

Andreas Kaltenhuber himself is a programmer with over 20 years of experience. Previously organized several IT companies. He is a member of the local rich club Seriously sexiest communication SportsClub (SSCSC), which organize golf tournaments several times a year for allegedly charitable activities. One of his friends and members of this club is the multimillionaire, director, and co-owner of the retail chain MPREIS (turnover of 900 million euros for 2018) Peter Paul Melk.

All club events are regularly reflected in the local press, where you can often see photographs of Kaltenhuber.

Andreas's parents are also public figures. His father, Heinrich Kaltenhuber, previously served as the director of a school and was also head of the Austrian branch of the international charity Lions. Mother Waltraud Kaltenhuber was formerly the headmaster of the general education school and is now involved in political activities in the Austrian People's Party (ÖVP).

In other words, the Kaltenhuber family is part of the so-called elite of Austrian society. In any case, their level is much higher than a simple Austrian inhabitant

Facebook helped establish the real identities of the anonymous founders of the project, hiding under the unremarkable nicknames Andrew [MCT+] and Mari [MCT+].

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When creating the project page on Facebook, they were on a business trip in Vienna, and Carina, apparently using the Wi-Fi service in the hotel, forgot to turn on the VPN. As a result, their actual location was displayed on the project’s Facebook page

Further, when analyzing the Related Pages section for likes and other information from some Andreas (the German version of the name Andrew), tax79 found likes on a page in a restaurant in Innsbruck from a certain Andreas Kaltenhuber. The following was the page of the software company PushPanda from the city of Innsbruck, where a certain Andreas Kaltenhuber was the founder.

Even such an innocent detail as the publication in the MCT+ chat of photos of their dogs sitting on a seat on a golf cart, later determined that the photograph was taken in Golfclub Innsbruck-Igls. Andreas Kaltenhuber has been a member of this club for many years.