Police say hacked cryptocurrency exchange Cryptopia can "open again whenever they like."

However, Christchurch company's website remains offline, with a minimalist "maintenance mode message" - and its founders did not immediately respond to queries about when or if will resume trading, and its social media accounts remain dormant, as they have been for the past fortnight.

Customers complain they can't access their accounts.

"We have finished the main part of the work required by the High Tech Crime Group at Cryptopia's business premises, although HTCG staff remain there finishing up aspects of their work," detective inspector Greg Murton said.


"Cryptopia management have full access to their facilities and business premises and the Police investigation is not preventing their business from getting up and running again."

Murton declined to comment on if or when charges might be laid.

He also refused comment on how much cryptocurrency was taken in the apparent online heist, which was revealed on January 15.

Crypto-experts have been all over the map with their estimates, which range up to $23 million. In his only comment on the hack. In his only substantive comment on the hack, Cryptopia director Pete Dawson said commentators had misinterpreted information about cryptocurrency transfers - but he did not say how much was taken.

Murton won't comment on claims by some in the crypto-community that the hack continued after police arrived at Cryptopia's offices, or that a portion of the stolen funds have been identified and frozen by a rival exchange.

Police say Cryptopia staff are cooperating, and that an earlier report they "stormed" the company's Christchurch building was "entirely incorrect." Cryptopia management alerted police to the hack.

A Cryptopia manager referred questions to a PR agency - which said it no longer worked for Cryptopia. One of the exchange's rank-and-file staff told the Herald he had no idea when it would re-open. He said that, like other staff, he was relying on police bulletins and the media for updates.

Spotlight on drawbacks

Even before the hack Cryptopia faced a range of challenges, from the crash in value suffered by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to a class action lawsuit being assembled by Christchurch lawyer Clive Cousins, who said last year that he had been approached by multiple Cryptopia customers who faced delays or were unable to get funds out of the crypto exchange.


The heist has also seen Lowndes Jordan partner Rick Shera and others highlight some of the drawbacks of cryptocurrency, from the fact that digital currency earns no interest to the lack of regulation to potential tax complications to the inaccessibility of funds if a password is lost to the fact crypto-exchanges typically lack a deposit guarantee, or the financial wherewithal to follow it through one if they do.

Cryptopia has not responded to questions on its deposit guarantee policy or other issues related to the January hack.

Last year, Cryptopia said it had 80 staff (although it was not clear how many were contractors) and 1.4 million users worldwide.