Crypto payments platform ZPAE sues Bittrex for theft after botched listing
Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex Global is facing a lawsuit for failing to list ZelaaPayAE’s ZPAE token on its platform. The Dubai-based payments platform has sued Bittrex for theft, misconduct, misrepresentation, and misleading after the exchange failed to list their token for over six months.
And while the company is yet to receive a refund for the listing that never happened, ZPAE says the lawsuit isn’t about the money, but its reputation.
A listing that was supposed to happen in mid-April is yet to happen on Bittrex, as the exchange faces lawsuits in the United Arab Emirates and its native Liechtenstein. ZelaaPayAE, a Dubai-based crypto payments platform, sued the exchange for failing to list its ZPAE token for six months and refusing to refund the company’s six-figure listing payment.
According to ZelaaPayAE, the company paid Bittrex an undisclosed amount on April 13th, 2021 to list ZPAE on the exchange. As part of the deal, Bittrex agreed to list the token within 7 days of the payment and signing of the listing contract. However, Bittrex soon delayed the listing claiming that the platform had issues with all Tron-based tokens and that ZPAE most likely wouldn’t be listed until the first week of June. As compensation for the delay, Bittrex offered to advertise the token to its users.
After a full 7 days their staff came to us and started buying more time on the context of their #TRON blockchain being down, this drama continued for the next couple months until on May 12th they confirmed a listing in first week of June. (2/5) pic.twitter.com/7T46TsoYYT— ZelaaPayAE (@zelaapay) November 20, 2021
With no development until the end of July, Zelaa issued an ultimatum to Bittrex to provide them with a final listing date or they would face legal consequences.
“And of course Bittrex failed to deliver even in June so finally after losing patience we requested a refund on August 29th. They approved of the refund but later we got ghosted for even after providing invoices as they wanted,” the company said in a tweet.
In September when Chris Sinkey, Bittrex’s listing director, told the company that ZPAE wasn’t listed on the exchange due to plagiarism and fraud concerns. Zelaa claims that this contradicts numerous statements from other Bittrex employees involved in the listing process, all of which said that it was delayed due to issues with the Tron blockchain.
Since then, the company initiated criminal proceedings against Bittrex, its listing director Chris Sinkey, and its CEO Stephen Stonberg, who signed ZPAE’s listing agreement.
Sahil Arora, the founder and CEO of Zelaa, said that the company was suing Bittrex for theft, misrepresentation, and misconduct. The exchange mislead the ZPAE community and failing to list the token for months resulted in short-term pumps and dumps which Arora says significantly affected the company’s reputation.
Since April 13th, when the payment to Bittrex was made, ZPAE saw increased volatility and lost over 68% of its value.
In the weeks since Zelaa filed the lawsuits, Bittrex’s listing director reached out to the company and said that the full amount they paid for the listing will be refunded in a week. Arora, however, cares little about the money.
“The trust is lost and to us, this is bigger than a couple hundred thousand dollars lost. It’s a damage of professional reputation,” he told CryptoSlate.
When asked what Zelaa wants to achieve with the lawsuits, he said that going public with the issue was never meant to be a hit piece against Bittrex.
“I don’t really intend to throw their name around or mean to defame them in any way. I’m just frustrated in the way they deal with projects and wanted to publicly clear that the hold up was not because of us but because of them.”
After Zelaa went public with its exchange with Bittrex, the company posted a statement on its Twitter account saying that not all tokens that apply for listings pass its compliance checks. CryptoSlate reached out to Bittrex for comment, but the exchange hasn’t responded by press time.
At Bittrex Global, we take compliance very seriously. Every coin or token that is listed on our exchange goes through multiple rounds of review before being offered to our community. Not all projects pass our rigorous compliance checks.— Bittrex Global (@BittrexGlobal) November 20, 2021