On July 8, Bit Market – Poland’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange – shocked the world when it announced it was shutting its doors permanently. Now, the exchange’s co-owner Tobias Niemiro, has been found dead in a local forest with a bullet wound to his head. Newspaper reports are suggesting it was a suicide.
Niemiro Dies After His Exchange Is Shut Down
The exchange closed in early July due to what one source describes as “suspicious circumstances.” Niemiro was situated in a town known as Olsztyn, which is about three hours from the country’s capital of Warsaw. He was 44 years old, and despite his death being listed as a self-killing, police are not ruling out foul play.
Local businessman and friend to Niemiro Adam Socha says that he received a lengthy email from Niemiro just a few hours before he passed away. That email has since been forwarded to the authorities. Socha explains:
The email was long. It seemed like he had found himself in an environment of shady businessmen. He gave names. I will not disclose its content because of the investigation. I forwarded the email to the prosecutor’s office. He also wrote that he would provide certain materials, but he didn’t have time.
Bit Market, when it closed two weeks ago, ultimately posted a notice on its website citing a “lack of liquidity.” Several customers said that they couldn’t access their funds. It is estimated that approximately 2,300 bitcoins from 400 separate investors were lost. That’s about $23 million. The exchange has been under investigation ever since.
Both Niemiro and his co-founder Marcin Aszkielowicz released separate statements saying that they were not responsible for the losses, and that they hadn’t misappropriated clients’ funds. Niemiro even claimed he was one of the “victims,” saying that he had lost money in the process as well, and that his good name would be forever sullied from here on out.
I lost everything because somebody caused the collapse of the exchange. Now, I’m losing face and my good name for which I’ve worked all my life. I am one of the victims.
This Certainly Sounds Familiar…
The event rings several bells for cryptocurrency enthusiasts and likely reminds them of a separate incident – Quadriga CX – in Canada. The exchange fell under what one might consider “permanent lockdown” after its head executive Gerald Cotten mysteriously passed away while working in India due to complications from Chron’s disease.
Cotten was the only person who had access to the exchange’s funds. Following his death, customers were not able to withdraw their money and instantly turned to his wife for assistance, but that decision proved fruitless. A class-action suit is now underway as reports have emerged suggesting Cotten potentially embezzled funds held within the exchange prior to his death.