Pavel Lerner, the owner of cryptocurrency exchange Exmo, was kidnapped in Ukraine this week.
A Russian citizen, Lerner is responsible for a variety of blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, including UK-based exchange Exmo. As originally reported by Ukrainian news site Strana.ua, Lerner first became unreachable on the 26th of December, and was reportedly dragged into a black Mercedes-Benz and abducted. He has not been heard from since.
Exmo is ranked 23rd by 24-hour volume with $94 million.
A setback in Ukraine, a Dash hotspot
The unfortunate incident took place in Kiev, a city which has come to include a significant cryptocurrency presence, particularly for Dash. The Dash community has been responsible in particular for a merchant adoption push, setting up point of sale systems for merchants to use to accept Dash. Notably, 12 businesses in Kiev are currently listed on DiscoverDash as accepting Dash.
Keeping funds on an exchange or third-party service can be risky
While there is as of yet no evidence that the kidnapping will have any effect the experience of using Exmo, trusting funds to a centralized service always carries a certain level of inherent risk. Numerous exchanges have gone under over the years for a variety of reasons from insolvency to government closure, which have put user funds at risk. Additionally, regulations and restrictions can change over time, which can place limitations on withdrawals on early users who have not provided identity or were identified under a different name. With the increasing price of cryptocurrency, this can lead to a near-impossibility of complete fund withdrawal for some larger users.
Users concerned about the security of their funds should always maintain control over their private keys and store funds in a wallet that allows them to do so. Additionally, users should look into a cold storage option such as a hardware wallet, and backup their wallet in secure locations.