Binance, OKEx, and Gate Kicks Out CNY & Existing Users, WeChat Blocks Searches, Mining Falls to Zero

China Update: Binance, OKEx, and Gate Kicks Out CNY & Existing Users, WeChat Blocks Searches, Mining Share Goes to Zero

Leading cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced on Wednesday that it is delisting the CNY trading zone, starting Dec. 31, 2021, in response to the regulatory requirements of the local government.

The exchange also said that it would also stop providing services to users in mainland China. Binance said it would “conduct an inventory of platform users,” and those from mainland China will have their accounts switched to the “withdrawal only” mode. It will notify the users by email seven days in advance.

Users based in China are now only able to withdraw, withdraw, redeem, and close positions.

Binance further said that they already withdrew from the Chinese mainland market in 2017 and do not engage in exchange business there.

“Binance has always attached great importance to compliance obligations and has always strictly complied with the relevant requirements of local regulatory agencies.”

Binance’s native token is unaffected by the news, trading at $460, up over 17.5% in the past 24-hours due to the announcement of a $1 billion incentive program to grow the Binance Smart Chain ecosystem on Tuesday.

Following Binance, another big crypto exchange OKEx issued a statement. Like Binance, OKEx said it has not been engaging in the Chinese market since 2017, and their site isn’t accessible in mainland China either.

“OKEx will continue to develop steadily in the international market, continuously improve its products and services, continue to maintain the policy of “exiting the Chinese mainland market,” and not set up offices and teams in mainland China.”

OKEx’s OKB token saw some fluctuation on the back of the news as it first went down to $15.14 from $16.44 only to spike to $16.89. As of writing, OKB is trading just under $16.

Another exchange Gate.io announced that it has blocked access to its website and removed its App from mainland China in response to local government regulatory policy requirements.

“In order to ensure the normal use and access of international users, Gate.io will normally provide legal and compliance services outside of mainland China,” said the exchange.

The same day, China’s largest social media platform WeChat blocked search results from the likes of “Binance” and “Huobi.”

After search engine Baidu and Twitter-like social media platform Weibo blocked searches for crypto exchanges in June, WeChat has also joined them by showing “no more results” to searches for them through existing articles to the exchanges are still accessible.

Amidst all this, China’s mining share after the ban has tanked, and the US has taken the lead.

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According to Cambridge Alternative Finance Center data, China’s share of global hash rate has fallen from 44% in May to zero. Two years back, China was accounting for a whopping 75.5% of the share. At the time, the US’s share was a mere 4.1%, which has grown to 35.4%.

During this time, Kazakhstan’s share increased significantly — 16.7% to achieve 18.1%; meanwhile, Russia’s share rose 5.3% to reach 11.2%. Canada also recorded significant growth going from 0.6% in June 2020 to 10.8% in July 2021.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Adds Lightning Network Support for Cheaper and Faster BTC Deposits & Withdrawals

Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Lightning Network Support for Cheaper and Faster BTC Deposits & Withdrawals

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added Lightning Network deposits and withdrawal support. The integration was first announced in February.

With this integration, OKEx will bring scalability, instant payments, and low cost to its users. As of now, it is live on the exchange’s desktop website, with mobile support to follow soon. OKEx tweeted,

“If you thought layer one of BTC was something else, wait until you use layer two for the first time.”

Launched in 2018, Lightning Network is a second layer on top of the Bitcoin network that facilitates faster and cheaper transactions.

On OKEx, this support is expected to bring down the average cost of Bitcoin transactions to under 0.01 cents and the average confirmation time to be reduced to mere 1-3 seconds.

Over the past year, a number of crypto exchanges have adopted Lightning Network in a bid to lower the deposit and withdrawal fees for their clients. Before OKEx, Bitfinex, Bitstamp, OKCoin, and River Financial announced the integration, while Gemini and Coinbase have yet to provide support.

Kraken is also expected to follow suit this year.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Recent Issues ‘Exposed Weaknesses in Internal Processes’ But Working on Correcting Them

On October 16th, OKEX users were shocked as the exchange unexpectedly halted all cryptocurrency withdrawals on the platform – stretching the halt to over a month. After the “normal withdrawal services” were resumed on November 26th, OKEX CEO Jay Hao joined a live Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the official 27,000+member Telegram channel to explain what went down during the withdrawal hiatus on the exchange.

The withdrawal issues started on October 16th, when one of the ‘private key holders’ on OKEX multi-sig wallets was taken into custody by the Chinese police to help in an investigation. The exchange shut down its withdrawal services while all other operations remained functional during this period. The exchange stated they could not provide authorization on withdrawals on the exchange as they could not access the keyholder at the time.

In a transcript of the AMA session, Jay Hao explained the withdrawal pause caused “a lot of uncertainty” as the exchange was not sure when withdrawal services would return. The event has since caused an enormous impact on the exchange’s business activities, Hao explained.

“We have seen an understandable decrease in trading activity on the exchange.”

Following the five-week withdrawal pause, OKEX experienced one of its largest Bitcoin outflows shortly after the services were resumed. Over 29,300 BTC was moved out of the exchange on November 26th, recording its second-largest outflow yet in 2020, only bettered by the March crash withdrawals.

However, the hiatus did not significantly affect the BTC market recently reached a new all-time high as the market responded wonderfully to the news. Hao further explained,

“The incident highlighted the cryptocurrency market’s maturity — reflected in the price of BTC and other major assets in their resilience to the news.”

The China-domiciled exchange is working on new developments to prevent such withdrawals from happening in the future and win back its customers’ trust and confidence.

First, the exchange will implement a new hot wallet system that will follow a four-stage process – private key generation, its backup, enabling a master private key generation, and its backup key. Moreover, each private key will have a backup key that will ensure “there will never be assets lost due to unforeseen events happening to a private key holder,” Jay further said.

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OKEX new hot wallet system

A “new exchange transparency plan” that allows the public to view and monitor their wallet addresses at any time will be launched in the coming months. The exchange also plans to reward the loyal users who deposited or held tokens in their accounts during the exchange’s arduous period.

Additionally, Jay addressed the rumors surrounding the withdrawal pause and OKEX founder, Star Xu. In a coincidence, OKEX withdrawals resumed shortly after Xu was released from police custody, causing a buzz that he was the mysterious “private key holder.” Furthermore, Jay bashed rumors that the exchange was facing investigations on money laundering charges. Jay said,

“As stated in many previous announcements, the investigation has no relation to OKEx.”

“We have established, implemented, and continue to refine and Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing, and Trade & Economic Sanctions Program since our inception to ensure a robust and compliant digital asset trading platform.”

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Author: Lujan Odera

OKEx Record Outflow of 29,300 BTC Since Resuming Withdrawals, Following a Five-Week-Long Suspension

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx recorded a significant bitcoin outflow right after the full range of five-week-long withdrawal suspension was lifted on Thursday at 08:00 UTC.

About 2,822 BTC was moved from the Asian exchange in block number 658,728 mined at 08:12 UTC — this was the most significant single-block outflow since May 2019.

In total, 24,631 BTC were moved out of OKEx yesterday, which is an 8-month high since March 13 this year, according to blockchain analytics firm CryptoQuant. The same day, Binance saw an inflow of 28.2k BTC.

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Combining today’s outflows, so far, with yesterday’s results in 29,300 BTC, which have been cleaned out of OKEx. During the same time period, 21,600 BTC has also been deposited.

This has reduced OKExs balance to ~212k BTC, as per crypto data provider Glassnode.

Meanwhile, the price of Bitcoin continues to oscillate between $16k and $17k following the big crash the night before Thanksgiving when the price was trading at the highs of $19,600.

This price drop started as soon as BTC whales began depositing their crypto assets to exchanges. As per IntoTheBlock, more than 93,000 Bitcoin were deposited into centralized exchanges.

If these whales continue to do so, the flagship cryptocurrency price is likely to go either sideways or drop.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Exchange to Resume Withdrawal Services As Founder Is Released From Police Custody

  • The china-based crypto exchange OKEx is set to resume withdrawals by November 27.
  • One of the ‘key private owners’ has been released by the Chinese police.

Troubled China-based crypto exchange OKEx is set to resume its withdrawal services starting Friday after a successful withdrawal test by the exchange. According to the reports, the exchange’s funds were locked beginning November 16th as one of the ‘private-key holders’ was held to help Chinese authorities in investigations.

Some outlets have reported that the mysterious private key holder is OKEx Founder, Mingxing “Star” Xu, who is rumored to be released from police custody. However, the exchange released a statement denying any connection with the founder.

Successful test withdrawals on OKEx

First reported by Crypto Quant, an on-chain analytics firm, OKEx moved about 0.02 BTC (~$380) from their wallet on Monday, signaling the exchange is getting its withdrawal service back up. According to Crypto Quant CEO Ki-Young Ju, the withdrawal opening could cause volatility across the crypto markets as OKEx users rush to withdraw their funds.

“I think #OKEx withdrawal reopening may cause volatility due to bulk withdrawal requests,” Ki tweeted.

The exchange withdrawals were halted on October 16th after one of the private key holders was under police custody assisting in an investigation. According to local media outlets, the private key holder is rumored to be the founder of OKEX, Star Xu.

The saga behind OKEx founder

OKEx users learned of the release of OKEx founder, Star Xu, bizarrely. The founder’s ‘WeChat Steps,’ an application within the WeChat messaging app that calculates steps, showed that he had started walking again. According to Xu’s WeChat statement, the Chinese police held him in custody due to a problem with the purchase of LEAP Holdings, a Hong Kong exchange-listed company, not the widely reported money laundering claims.

According to Decrypt’s reports, OKEx purchased LEAP Holdings to gain a “backdoor listing” on the Hong Kong stock exchange. However, questions arose from the millions of dollars Xu raised to buy the company – an issue that remains a mystery despite Xu’s release.

While the exchange’s private keys being “found” coincides with the OKEx founder’s release, the exchange released a statement distancing itself from Xu.

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Author: Lujan Odera

OKEx Resumes P2P Fiat Trading for Chinese Yuan, Indian Rupee, & Vietnamese Dong

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx announced on Wednesday that it is resuming peer-to-peer (P2P) trading for CNY, INR, and VND fiat pairs from today at 12:00 pm (UTC). Buy Crypto fiat gateways are also being reactivated.

However, cryptocurrency withdrawals remain temporarily suspended with “sell crypto options still not available.” The exchange also warns off of escrow trading due to the risk of scams and disputes.

Early last week, OKEx suspended a digital asset withdrawal, saying it was “out of touch” with one of the holders of the private keys who is cooperating with a police investigation.

There have been reports that OKEx’s Chinese founder Xu Mingxing was taken away by police.

It is not clear what the investigation is about, but there have been signs of a renewed crackdown on money-laundering activities on OTC trading platforms.

An OKEx seller told Caixin that “scrutiny has been tightened recently.” The seller further shared that buyers must provide screenshots of their payment accounts to regulators within a week for identification and account verification purposes for OTC transactions.

The exchange, meanwhile, maintains that user funds are safe and not affected. All the other functions are also working normally.

“No on-chain out-flow from OKEx has taken place since withdrawals were suspended on 10/16. Instead, there’s been continuous on-chain in-flow to OKEx,” tweeted OKEx CEO Jay Hao on Tuesday. “Your assets are safe. We’ll do our best to resume withdrawals ASAP.”

For the Chinese crypto traders since late 2017, when the central bank of the country banned direct fiat on-ramp services, P2P trading has been the only way to trade. With withdrawals at the exchange suspended, crypto-assets like BTC and USDT on OKEx have been sold at a discount.

In response, OKEx banned some users’ accounts. “Multiple accounts have triggered our risk management system. As a result, those accounts have been automatically banned for internal transfers. To ensure the safety of your assets, we’d like to remind users not to engage in unauthorized platforms,” tweeted the exchange.

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Author: AnTy

Binance Adds More Value to BNB through Yield Farming on Launchpool Platform

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges, OKEx, and Binance, are now jumping on the bandwagon of yield farming, the hottest thing in the DeFi.

After launching the mainnet of its smart contract-enabled blockchain and an AMM called Binance Liquid Swap recently, popular crypto exchange Binance released Launchpool to take advantage of the leading DeFi growth driver.

The exchange clarified that Launchpool is a new product, different from Launchpad, which will continue as normal, that allows users to earn yields from farming new coins while staking BNB and other digital assets. “BNB staked in Launchpool also counts for Launchpad,” it says.

Binance announced this latest product over the weekend, which will allow users to earn income by staking their tokens.

For now, users will be able to stake Binance’s native token BNB and its very own stablecoin BUSD, along with another token, ARPA.

Launchpool has also announced the first project it is hosting, which is Bella Protocol, which raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Arrington XRP Capital last month. The project aims to enhance the user experience when interacting with DeFi assets by removing complex issues like high gas fees and hopping to different protocols in search of high yields.

Users can start providing staked liquidity this Wednesday for 30 days in three separate pools. A week from that, the exchange will list the BEL token against four crypto assets BTC, USDT, BNB, and BUSD.

Binance is offering BEL rewards at 90% for staking BNB, 9% for staking BUSD, and 1% for ARPA.

“If you think CeFi farming yield won’t be higher than DeFi, think again,” said Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao.

In decentralized finance, however, it can be much higher.

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Author: AnTy

OKEx Exchange Considers Delisting ETC After $5.6 Million Loss Due to a 51% Attack

OKEx will consider delisting Ethereum Classic (ETC) following the recent 51% attacks that saw the crypto exchange lose $5.6 million. This was prompted by a double-spend where the attacker created confusion by launching a ‘shadow chain’ and leveraging OKEx’s high ETC liquidity. A report released by the crypto exchange on August 15 details:

“As for why the attacker(s) chose OKEx in particular to purchase and trade their ETC, the most likely reason is liquidity. OKEx provides excellent ETC liquidity, seeing some of the largest ETC transaction volumes in the industry.”

ETC’s 51% Attack Via OKEx

As per the report, this attack was well orchestrated and had been in play since June, when the malicious actors created five accounts with OKEx. The crypto exchange went on to approve the KYC documents of these attackers, not knowing the underlying motive. Interestingly, all these accounts passed the platform’s level 2 and 3 KYC protocols, which attracted an increase in their withdrawal limits.

Having penetrated the OKEx ecosystem and gaining liquidity exposure to ETC, the attackers went on to deposit 68,230.02 ZEC into their OKEx accounts. These funds were then converted to ETC and withdrawn to multiple external addresses, totaling $5.6 million worth of Ethereum classic. With the funds already transferred, the attackers initiated the 51% attack, which took place in three stages.

“The whole operation can be broken into three stages: 1) the creation of a “shadow chain” or a secret, alternate chain to ETC’s mainnet, 2) the actual double-spend, and 3) the profound chain reorganization that resulted in losses to OKEx.”

OKEx Bares the Losses

OKEx has since clarified that the company bore the $5.6 million loss, according to its user protection policies, which means that ETC funds deposited with them remained safe. The 51% attack on the ETC blockchain took place twice, with the initial one being on August 1 while the second followed on August 6. OKEx was, however, only affected by the first attack since it had already halted ETC deposits and withdrawals.

The exchange noted that it took some short and long-term measures to prevent such a risk in the future. If not delisted, OKEx plans to increase ETC confirmation times should the community act on improving the security of this blockchain. According to the company’s CEO, Jay Hao, they are not in a rush to delist ETC given its significance in the platform’s liquidity:

“Given ETC’s popularity and standing, we are not rushing into delisting … However, they need to implement significant upgrades to the network to reduce the chances of another 51% attack happening.”

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Author: Edwin Munyui

OKEx Rolls Out A P2P Crypto Exchange in India With Zero Transaction Fees

The popular Malta-based spot and derivatives exchange – OKEx – has been eyeing the Indian crypto market for some time, and has now announced its plans to launch a peer-to-peer crypto exchange in India with zero trading fees. The firm is set to launch the platform by August 5.

Jay Hao, the chief executive of OKEx, commented on their recent endeavor into India and promised to improve the ecological layout and overall trading experience for Indian users. He said:

“We’re committed to connecting Indian traders to the international crypto-trading marketplace by providing a one-stop service for Indian traders, including spot and many kinds of derivatives. What’s more, OKEx will also further improve the ecological layout in India and enhance the trading experience of Indian users.”

The platform would offer Bitcoin and USDT trading pairs against the national fiat – INR. The firm has promised to add other coins later as the demand picks up. The platform would also allow INR deposits via popular online payment portals like UPI, IMPS, and NEFT.

OKEx Launches 30,000 USDT Giveaway Campaign to Promote Their Launch

OKEx launched a giveaway program to promote its new platform with 30,000 USDT being up for grabs. Users can benefit by participating in the giveaway contest comprising of quizzes, social media postings, and referring friends.

There remains an interest in international exchanges in the Indian crypto ecosystem, despite the uncertainty of over-regulation. OKEx also invested in the Indian derivative exchange CoinDCX during its seed funding round. Apart from OKEx, Binance, the world’s leading exchange, has also shown great interest in the Indian market and has already availed INR on-boarding for Indian customers. Apart from that, Binance also acquired WazirX exchange.

Research from OKEx also revealed the growing interest of Indian customers in the crypto space, and there are currently 5 million Indians with crypto holdings. While another analysis from CoinDCX revealed a 1031.4% month-on-month increase in BTC/INR trading volume.

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Author: Hank Klinger

OKEx Partners With Settle Network to Offer Fiat Gateway For Latin Americans

OKEx, one of the prominent crypto derivatives exchange, has partnered with Settle Network LATAM ((Latin America) to offer fiat onboarding for Latin Americans with support for three local currencies. The crypto exchange made their partnership public on July 3rd, informing locals that they can purchase Bitcoin and Ethereum on their platform using Argentine peso (ARS), the Brazilian real (BRL), and the Mexican peso (MXN).

LATAM digital settlement network is supposedly the largest digital settlement network in Latin America. The firm’s Latamex platform has been specially developed to allow people to make crypto purchases using local fiat currencies. Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx commented on their recent partnership and said,

“One of the important goals of OKEx is to enable everyone to enjoy intermediary-free financial services by promoting the blockchain-driven economy. For that, it’s essential to lower the threshold for the exchange between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies in order to cover users in more countries and regions. The cooperation with Settle Network is of strategic significance to OKEx. Latin American users can now purchase BTC and ETH with multiple local currencies in a compliant way through bank transfers. In the future, OKEx will continue to expand the coverage of fiat currencies to allow more users to purchase cryptocurrencies more conveniently.”

Fiat Gateways Have Become Common To Drive Adoption

Fiat gateways or fiat onboarding has become quite a trend for crypto exchanges to help them expand their reach and subsequently help in broader crypto adoption. Earlier traders had to depend on utility tokens or stablecoins to buy cryptocurrencies, which at the time looked convenient but looked quite complicated for a new entrant. However, with direct bank transfers and fiat gateways, even a newbie can invest in bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency.

OKEx is not the first crypto exchange to partner with the Latin American payment processing giants. Binance was the first exchange for making use of Settle network’s LATAM product for fiat onboarding of locals during the last quarter of 2019. The largest crypto exchange by trading volume has been expanding rapidly, availing new derivative products and services. Among these, the fiat-gateway for several countries was the talk of the town.

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Author: James W