By Samuel Benedict, CEO Satowallet
This article originally appeared on Medium as “Detail Report On The Incidence With Satowallet By Samuel Benedict, CEO Satowallet”, but was taken due to a supposed violation of its policies.
Satowallet is a product of many years of research and fulfilment of the dream to create a wallet were all cryptocurrency activities can be carried out. I founded Satowallet in May 2017 as there were none like it kind then, and it gained the attention of global crypto users due to our commitment in improving the project and providing new features every now and then. Our community grew so large, with customer support as our top priority, having our team work 24/7 to satisfy all users.
In July 2018 we decided to move Satowallet from being a mobile wallet, to also a mobile exchange which was launched, then a new upgrade on android, ios and pc app.
With the new update we were able to increase our reach and also expanded our staff capacity up to 25 staff under the mother company ( Blockchain Tech Hub) as the workload increased. In many occasions we faced several hack attempt on our platform and none was successful because our team had to work 24/7 as security was our major message to users. On every one of these occasions, we always announced to users about carrying-out a new upgrade to strengthen security systems.
In June 2019 we decided to also have a web exchange platform as demanded by users feedback, and during this season we went on upgrade for several days as it was a total recreation of our platform since we wanted the web platform to be connected to the mobile App. During this upgrade period, I was always communicating to users on progress reports, with several positive feedback from users. During this upgrade period aslo, several telegram scammers took advantage of it through our telegram group collecting users login details claiming to be an admin helping them to restore their accounts. After the launch of the web platform, the scammer had used the user’s details to log in and even had the users supply 2fa to them to withdraw their funds successfully.
After receiving this complains from several users, we decided to take the fall for it and gave back the affected users the funds the scammers took from them and therefore decided to install KYC as an extra security measure for securing users account and also instructed users to send their support request to support email or live chat rather than chatting in the group and giving scammers their account information.
After enforcing KYC we had a perfect system for several months, and I decided to review the KYC policy by removing it and allowing users to transact without KYC since I believed that the platform was now stable. With removing KYC, came again more scammer withdrawing users funds by tricking them to provide their login details and 2fa, and due to this, we decided to make withdrawals manual to verify which users were withdrawing. The manual withdrawals led so several complaints from users on delayed withdrawals which were all sent on twitter and other social media platforms, and due to this our telegram admins were now required to work 24/7 on telegram to always verify withdrawals for users if a complaint comes (Every single telegram users can tell how effective and hard-working we carried this out). To also make things easy for our telegram admin, we started the Satorone( Satowallet representatives) system which comprises of both old and new users( not Satowallet workers or official team members) from selected countries who were required to handle users queries when main admins were asleep.
After our big web and mobile update, we faced several codebase issues which were normal for a beta platform, and we continuously worked day and night to improve the new web system.
In August, I woke up to several messages from users about platform not accessible, and when I and my Developer team checked we saw that all our 8 servers( wallets nodes, app, web) were down. Immediately we contacted OVH Datacenter where we hold our dedicated servers for a total $6500 Monthly for 2 years now and reached out to one of their team on skype.
We still did not get a reply for hours, then I made a tweet telling users we are having an issue with our data centre and would fix it up ASAP. Finally, we got a reply from one of their team
This was now a week of platform been offline so we ask them to set up the new server as fast as possible so we could put back platform online. During this period I could not say anything to users as I was still unsure what the issue was at this point, and I do not like to give uncertain news as I have always stated in most of my tweet.
At this point we got website and App back online with our code backup, but lost some database data due to transactions that occurred before the server went offline(This was the period users complained about missing wallet balance from their account) and made several reports to twitter which made twitter team to disable the Satowallet official twitter account. Through all of this, we refused to give up and started installing the wallet nodes of all the coins/token on our platform through our wallet.dat backups so we can get platform running. During this period, I was always updating on twitter about the progress of the update situation. After wallet installations, we noticed that the coins were no longer there from the backups and private keys, then we reached out to OVH again as this was no longer funny:
We decided not to raise alarm at this point as we were still hoping to get access to our main servers, believing that all will be fine there. We also accused OVH of fraud and trying to steal our wallet servers from us. We reached out to OVH team again and got a heart breaking news and without any explanations after we accused the of stealing users funds from our server with them:
At this point, they stopped replying our messages and refused to give any further explanations. This was the point that I had to make a tweet to users that we are having issues that is beyond our control as we could do nothing as developments as it seems like we have been scammed by the server company OVH. I immediately contacted our company lawyer on the best approach to this, and we were set to file a suit against OVH only to see that they have removed every detail of their location from their website.
I had the most traumatic experience of my life in weeks, I contacted several investors if we could get any remedy and got no positive response. Few weeks before this I just had my engagement to the love of my life and had a scheduled wedding in a few months time, and with this situation, I could not concentrate on anything. Days later after this, I got to our local office only to see that 70% of our staff had dropped a resignation letter leaving the company with the fear that we might not be able to pay off salaries seeing what had happen with the server. Seeing this, sent me to weeks of depression which made me go offline. It hard for me to even believe what happened, therefore I decided to seek merger while our lawyers are working to track down OVH team as they were not responding on any social media or contact.
We still have not gotten any reply from OVH, and two days ago they disabled the new web and app server since we are accusing them, thereby sending the website offline again. We went on their facebook page and saw several other complaints of the same issues.
Right now we are at a crossroad, and we require every user help to join us and track this down. This has done so much damage to my company, satowallet and her users, and my personal life and finance. I am totally open to every positive contact as I still do not believe our funds are lost. I will never scam anyone of a $1, if I wanted to do that then I would not have made my personality public from day one running my company for 8 years now. I see no reasons why I would want to scam.
With tears, I write this ADDITION: Shronghands Team has reached out to us after reading this publication and offered to provide a replacement for every user’s coins so we can kick start the exchange. We have also gotten the support of 60% of our top users with highest balance who are ready to kick start the platform back with us. We appreciate everyone who has placed their trust in us in this trying time, we also hope to get more supports like this from other project teams and we will kick start Satowallet while also going after OVH who have refused to reply.