For our customers and all those that have been keeping up with the latest happenings and progress on our stores, you most probably know about our web stores going offline for over a month. For those who don’t know, yes. our web stores had been offline, with our EU store (sheldoneu.store) still offline. In this post we look to explain why our web store (sheldon.store) went offline and why (sheldoneu.store) is still offline. Keep reading…
Sheldon Stores, just like any other business has its own fair share of challenges and huddles we must overcome in other to stay in business. Some, we are able to prevent from happening, others we are able to tackle as soon as we face them, yet, there are others we just don’t see coming and when they do happen can really take a toll on every single thing we do. However, the good thing about challenges is, we get a chance to learn as much as we possibly can in other to better prepare for a possible re-occurrence or even how to prevent it. This about summarises why our web stores went offline, but why and what happened? We hope to answer that the best way we can. Keep reading…
What Really Happened
At both our web stores, we understand the complexity with cryptocurrencies. From security, to sending and receiving coins/tokens to exchanging cryptocurrencies to fiat/other cryptocurrencies and back. As such, we created a foreign exchange team to handle all things cryptocurrencies. Our FX team is the backbone of our operations at our various web stores as they receive and process customer payments in cryptocurrencies. They can also exchange cryptocurrencies we receive to just about any fiat currency or to other cryptocurrencies as may be required of them. With the importance placed on the role they play in our day to day operations, they are the only team in Sheldon Store that is trained by third parties. We sure can brag about our FX team being the most trained FX team in our industry. Notwithstanding the extensive training our FX team undergo, the challenges we faced did not come from within but without.
With over 100 coins/tokens accepted as a means of payment on our web stores, our FX team is continually at the lookout for services that can help us meet our day to day exchange needs. This made us create trading accounts with some of the most popular web based cryptocurrency exchange services, with Cryptopia being one of such web based cryptocurrency exchange service. We traded on Cryptopia for over a year and was pretty confident the exchange service would help us reach even greater heights in our business operations as there were hundreds of coins and tokens with active trading. This helped us accept even more coins on our web stores which introduced us to more people paying with the newly added coins and tokens. However, we were so wrong about the future Cryptopia held for us as sometime in January 2019, Cryptopia reported a hack. We know the security risks that come with cryptocurrencies, as such we tried to be understanding with Cryptopia and hoped they came out of it, but that never happened.
At about the same time the hack was reported, the Cryptopia website became inaccessible. This brought certain operations at our web stores to a screeching stop as we were unable to carry out basic tasks such as processing customers funds for paid orders as customers funds were stuck and could not be accessed. A few days after the hack, we had customers asking questions as to why their orders had not been fulfilled, why their orders were delayed and some asked for refunds which we are obliged to honour. This was the beginning of the challenges we faced that made our web store go offline as we were now in huge debts which we are still paying off to this day with about 90% of those refund requests processed. At our web stores, we require the services of certain third parties. While some of these services are free, most are paid. We also have staff salaries to pay and a whole lots more. We did not need this, we were not prepared and this made it impossible to keep our web stores online. We fell behind on a couple of paid services which included our domain names renewal among others. At this time, both our web stores, our email service and our blog went offline.
We were initially working towards opening a market place but had to push back on those plans. We however have been able to recover from this incident. Our web store Sheldon Store (sheldon.store) is now back online and with a new shopping interface. Our customers are totally awesome as it just seems like we were never offline. We have made huge progress since. Our blog is now also back online. Yeah. You are reading this right now aren’t you? We have also received a lot of support from certain cryptocurrency community members, we are just overall grateful to still be here. We are working towards re-opening Sheldon Store EU (sheldoneu.store) as soon as possible too so we can continue serving our totally awesome customers and keep providing a valuable service to the entire crypto community.
What Happens Now?
Was Cryptopia responsible for this incidence? Not totally, as we believe we could have done better to avoid being in such a situation. We have read on several posts advising against storing cryptocurrencies on exchange services. We thought by trading with the “big dogs”, we were totally in good hands, but we thought wrong as even the “big dogs” can be hit by disaster at any time and without warning. We have taken certain steps to help us avoid things like this from happening again. This includes but not limited to:
- Funds are no longer stored on any exchange service. This was the first reasonable step we had to take to prevent things like this from happening again.
- We have temporarily discontinued trading on web based cryptocurrency exchange service and have partnered with foreign exchange services with physical addresses across Europe.
- We no longer store or trade significantly huge sums of cryptocurrencies in a single location.
- We have moved our web stores from a gift card only store and now sell tangible physical goods and ship world wide with the help of our international partners. This was based on feedback we received from customers as we noticed online retailers such as Amazon does not ship certain items to certain countries.
- We are now working towards a comprehensive insurance plan for certain items and orders. This way, whatever happens, customers still get their orders within the estimated delivery time.
We do sincerely hope these actions we have taken will help protect us and our customers from any further surprises. We understand that we can never be too prepared but are praying for the best yet expecting the worst. We have also continued plans towards opening a marketplace for almost anyone to be able to sell online and accept cryptocurrencies. We are hoping to have our marketplace up and running before the year comes to an end.
More updates and lots more to be shared on this blog so do follow us everywhere.