Multichain Protocol Halts Operations as Chinese Authorities Detain CEO Zhaojun and Sister

Cross-chain protocol Multichain (MULTI) has announced the cessation of its operations following a series of unfortunate events involving the company’s CEO, Zhaojun, and his sister. According to a statement released on July 14 via Multichain’s official Twitter handle, Zhaojun and his sister were reportedly “taken away” by the Chinese police, leading to a disruption in the company’s activities.

The ordeal began on May 21, 2023, when Zhaojun was apprehended by the Chinese police and subsequently lost contact with the global Multichain team. Upon reaching out to the MPC node operators, the team discovered that their access to the MPC node servers had been revoked. It was revealed that these servers, including the ordinary ones, were operating under Zhaojun’s personal cloud server account, which no other team member had access to.

The Multichain team then established communication with Zhaojun’s family, who informed them that all of his electronic devices, including computers, phones, hardware wallets, and mnemonic phrases, had been confiscated by the authorities. This unfortunate development meant that Zhaojun held control over all operational funds and investments, leaving the team with limited resources and no access to servers.

In response to the lack of information about the case, the Multichain team opted to maintain project operations to the best of their abilities using the remaining access to non-MPC servers that had not been revoked. Following legal advice, they chose to cooperate with Zhaojun’s family and adhere to local laws and regulations, refraining from disclosing unauthorized information about the case to the public.

Taking a responsible approach toward the community, the team released the news of Zhaojun’s disappearance on May 30, along with an explanation of the technical issues they were facing. They continued to operate the Multichain protocol, making every effort to sustain its functionality and address user concerns despite the limited resources.

However, on July 7, an abnormal transfer of user assets locked on the MPC addresses occurred, leading to further complications. Zhaojun’s sister reported finding login information from an IP address in Kunming on the cloud server platform, which was linked to a series of fund transfers from the MPC addresses.

In an effort to preserve the remaining user assets, Zhaojun’s sister transferred the funds in the router pool on July 9. The team and several project parties were notified of this action, and the funds were transferred to EOA addresses controlled by Zhaojun’s sister.

Unfortunately, the situation took another unfortunate turn on July 13 when Zhaojun’s sister was also taken into custody by the police. With her out of contact, the team expressed uncertainty regarding the status of the preserved assets. Consequently, due to the lack of alternative sources of information and operational funds, Multichain was forced to cease its operations.

The Multichain team acknowledged their inability to access the Domain Account necessary for redirecting or shutting down the front end of their website, http://multichain.org. They appealed to the community for assistance in spreading the news about the company’s cessation of operations. They specifically mentioned reaching out to domain registrar GoDaddy for support in bringing down the website.

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