For years the Fanya Metal Exchange has sold itself as a medium for everyday Chinese investors to satisfy their desire for a stake in the world of physical minor metals.
Conference after conference brave staff faced questions and struggled to explain who these investors were, why - it seemed - they all took the same buy and hold strategy and how an independent audit of the exchange's incredible inventory numbers was unnecessary.
How much a year can change.
While the exchange continues to insist that it is positioning itself as a global hub for minor metal transactions, there are now few outside the organization with faith in its ability to succeed.
Since the leak of Chinese government investigations into the Fanya Metal Exchange came to light in December of 2014, the exchange's claimed purchases have effectively ended. And rumors that Fanya's business model was not as it seemed, which had circulated last year, started being openly discussed by those with direct knowledge of the company's operations.