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Patricia crypto-exchange hackers caught; to be arraigned, announces CEO, Hanu Agbodje

by Edison Irabor

Hackers who recently compromised Patricia crypto exchange have been caught. This is according to the latest Patricia update to its user community through a video by its CEO, Hanu Agbodje. According to Mr. Agbodje, the perpetrators would be “arraigned for justice to take its due cause and also for [Patricia] to recover stolen assets”:

“In the last few weeks, we’ve been able to isolate the loss and users affected. We also got the support of various law enforcement agencies and I am happy to announce that the perpetrators have been identified and will be arranged for justice to take its due cause and also for us to recover stolen assets”

In one of our previous reports, Patricia had stated that its “security team, with the help of law enforcement agencies, has been able to identify an individual among the syndicated group responsible for this breach.” Patricia assured users that it would “continue to pursue this lead and work with security agencies and other partners to ensure thorough audit of the situation and recover the assets”. With the latest development, it appears that that further investigations have eventually led to the alleged hackers’ doorsteps.

In the video update, Mr. Agbodje assured Patricia users that Patricia is committed to recovering user funds stolen from its custody after a hack it suffered recently:

“We can’t express enough how sorry we are that your assets were compromised on Patricia and we take full responsibility for this. We are working very hard to rectify the situation”.

Patricia as a company has been restructured to serve users better, says the Patricia boss 

With the turbulence Patricia has experienced due to the crypto-exchange hack, Patricia is making certain changes. This includes company restructuring and security measures. In the words of the Patricia boss:

We have also restructured the company to accommodate these changes, doubled down on security by listing new partners and experts to work with us. All of these to ensure that we can reopen our doors to serve you better and to meet your needs.

Related: Patricia crypto exchange suspension of withdrawals after hacking incident raises concerns.

Just as it navigated previous turbulent times, Patricia will successfully navigate the current one, the CEO assures

Mr. Agbodje assures users that Patricia would get out of the currency challenge successfully, as it has always done in the past. Here, he takes listeners memory lane to why he started Patricia, recounting how in 2015, he was ripped off online. Badly hurt by that rip off, he told himself, he said, “I want to build a safe platform where no one would get scammed online”. 

Hence, Patricia’s vision is “to be the most trusted digital-asset platform in the entire world”. 

Conceding that although Patricia has “fallen short and that vision seems distant right now”, Mr. Agbodje reassured users that he and the Patricia team “have not lost sight of it”. The current challenge is “an opportunity to reaffirm” this vision to its users, he said. 

“In our history as a company, this is not the first time we have faced turbulent times. Five years ago, Patrica was a two-person company in a small space and through difficult times and [has] expanded. In 2020, Covid almost saw us crumble. In 2021, the CBN love letter came through and that the CBN ban almost wiped us out. But we navigated that very well as well. Through many difficult times, we’ve built Patirica to be the largest and one of the most recognized crypto companies on the African continent.”

It will come as no surprise to Mr. Agbodje’s listeners or readers that the “CBN love letter”, as Mr Agbodje puts it, was one of Patricia’s turbulent times. Indeed, no crypto entity in Nigeria or targeting the fast-growing Nigerian crypto market was not negatively affected by the CBN cryptocurrency circular of 5 February 2021 issued under the governorship and supervision of the now-suspended Godwin Emefiele. 

“This time will not be any different”, Mr. Agboje reassured users:

“We will rise above this. This will yet be another chapter in our story, and we will navigate this and make sure we come out of it with you by our side.”

Hanu appealed for affected users’ support, patience, and “most importantly”, users’ trust. Indeed, if the sound and fury expressed by a number of Patricia users on Twitter is anything to go by, trust in the platform is diminishing fast. Over the weeks, especially since the announcement of the crypto-exchange hack in May—patience has been gathering steam amongst Patricia users who have continued to demand access to their funds.

Will unaffected Patricia users be allowed to access their funds?

On the part of Patricia users generally, it appears that Patricia’s CEO is unable to give any precise dates on when users will be able to access their funds at this time. Understandably, giving a precise date appears to be impracticable at this time—at least for the affected users– until assets are eventually recovered successfully. 

But how about Patricia users who are unaffected by the recent hack? Can they be allowed to access their funds? This is particularly worth considering since Patricia has “been able to isolate the loss and users affected”, as announced by the Patricia CEO. Logically, Patricia users and the general members of the public would expect—and reasonably so—that Patricia should be able to allow access to funds for unaffected users.

The above seems like the logical thing for Patricia to do. But why isn’t it doing so? The reason may be this: Allowing unaffected Patricia users access their funds may be highly risky if the risk or threat that led to the hack has not been reasonably neutralized. This is especially so if investigations by law enforcement agencies have revealed to Patricia management, forensically, that the crypto-exchange platform still has windows or doors that hackers may further exploit to compromise user funds on the crypto exchange. Patricia has not commented on this possible concern.

Meanwhile, Mr Agbodje has expressed Patricia’s commitment and dedication to rectifying the current challenge. It is Patricia’s no. 1 priority, he said. To ensure that users are adequately carried along with developments on the matter, he promised that Patricia would engage users frequently through its blog and other official channels. Here’s the video on YouTube.

Read also: Patricia crypto exchange breach: Industry stakeholders react.