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Update for Dasset Creditors and Users 21 December 2023

On 15 August 2023, David Ruscoe and Russell Moore from Grant Thornton New Zealand were appointed liquidators of Digital Asset Exchange Limited (trading as ‘Dasset’), a New Zealand digital assets trading platform.

Users are being contacted if they have placed a buy or sell order with the exchange within the last 5 years. We are still working to confirm outstanding balances but thought it important to provide a brief update on the progress of the Liquidation.

Access to information and reconciliation issues

Since appointment, the Liquidators have focused on trying to recover information and assets from a third-party offshore exchange. However, our overall progress has been hindered by the fact that we have had no contact with the CEO (who is also a Director) since the 3rd day of the Liquidation, despite our numerous attempts to contact him. While the third-party offshore exchange has been forthcoming with information, the CEO is understood to retain the key knowledge of how the overall exchange worked and also how/if customer records are stored.

From the Liquidator’s investigations and interviews held with ex-employees, it appears there were significant problems with how the Company maintained accurate user records including User balances.

Asset recovery

Since being appointed the Liquidators have managed to secure a significant proportion of the reported digital assets disclosed by the CEO at Liquidation. The Liquidators have also contacted the 3rd party exchange used to store User digital assets to attempt recovery of the remaining assets. This exchange has confirmed they hold users' assets and have confirmed that the remaining assets are frozen.

The Liquidators continue to seek to obtain information from this exchange in order to carry out their investigations. DASSET at the date of Liquidation had several outstanding compliance obligations to this 3rd party and the Liquidators have worked to fulfil these to gain access to remaining digital assets. We can confirm we have now met these obligations and are in the process of recovering the remaining assets.

Legal advice

The Liquidators have engaged legal counsel to review the terms and conditions of the exchange to consider the relationship and therefore priority of Users in terms of class of creditor.

This is important as it will dictate whether the Cryptocurrency recovered is held in trust for Users or whether it should be in the same pool for all Company Creditors as unsecured creditors.

If the Cryptocurrency is deemed to be held in trust the Users would be paid before the Companies creditors.

This needs to be resolved as preferential creditors exist and would be paid in priority to Users if they are classed as unsecured creditors.

Regulatory engagement

As described in our first Liquidators report, given the reported balance sheet position and a difference between the assets held and user balances per the reported balance sheet, the Liquidators continue to engage with New Zealand's Financial Markets Authority and Serious Fraud Office.

Timeline, claims process and next steps

We hope to provide further information on the Liquidation in early 2024, including the claims process which has not started for Users. We are therefore unable to provide a timetable for payment to users or creditors.

We continue to investigate other recovery opportunities, but at this stage, it is not possible to estimate the amount of funds that will be available to users and creditors. As reported in our first Liquidators' report, the recorded assets held by the Company were less than 10% of the reported user and creditor balances at the date of liquidation. Accordingly, it is expected that unless further recoveries can be identified any funds available to be repaid to users or creditors will be minimal.

Due to the large number of Users we will not be responding to individual emails. All communications and circulars produced by the Liquidators can be found on the Dasset liquidation page.

If users are not owed anything in the Liquidation, we ask that they let us know by emailing to be removed from from future correspondence.