UK bitcoin marketplace Netagio is to shut down its exchange trading platform and restructure as a wealth storage business against a backdrop of regulatory uncertainty, stagnating prices and increasing security issues for the beleaguered crypto-currency industry.
The Netagio exchange was set up against expectations of growing bitcoin trading volumes in the UK and Europe, with a plan to establish a trusted Bitcoin marketplace for retail customers and institutional investors.
But with prices in the doldrums, and the industry plagued by a series of losses to hackers and dubious business practices, Netagio has been forced to rethink its strategy.
Simon Hamblin, CEO of Netagio says: "As experienced Board representatives we recognise when industry winds blow in other directions and it is time to review and restructure.”
As part of the new corporate direction, Netagio will close its bitcoin, GBP, USD and EUR exchange platform and trading on all order books will be suspended from today, giving customers 30 days notice to withdraw their funds and close their trading accounts.
The company says it will re-open for business in March under plans to provide physical vault safekeeping options globally, for retail and institutional investors, high net worth individuals and family offices.
Says Hamblin: "At the time when trust in banks is low and potential bank bail-outs across Europe are a reality, the need for alternative ways to safeguard savings is clear, with cash savings significantly on the increase. Our heritage in gold and Bitcoin storage puts us on the right path to work with our partners to provide highly secure, globally located vaults to fulfil our customers’ cash safekeeping needs."
Netagio's withdrawal from the market follows last week's collapse of bitcoin ponzi scheme MyCoin and news over the weekend of a hack at Chinese crypto currency exchange Bter that saw nearly $2 million in coins wiped out.