One of the top 10 crypto exchanges with fees HitBTC is under fire today as its users complain that the company has disabled withdrawals without an official explanation. Moreover, as the exchange remained silent, new accusations were starting to appear. (Updated on January 3 with a response from HitBTC – three last paragraphs.)
For example, some of the accusations now center around the annual Proof of Keys event, set to happen tomorrow, where participants withdraw their funds from exchanges to prove ownership of them.
Trace Mayer, the person behind the Proof of Keys event, wrote on Twitter:
Saw this coming. Similar to when bitcoin hit 19k and coinbase crashed. I can see exchanges going down for maintenance during proof of keys …”maintenance ” pic.twitter.com/7HCqvmdL5s
— Colorado Crypto-naut (@303nate) January 2, 2019
There is no concrete evidence that the current issue is connected to Proof of Keys, however: “Saying this is happening just before #ProofOfKeys event makes for a nice headline, but in reality @hitbtc has been behind on withdrawals and indiscriminately freezing accounts for many months now. But sure, if the narrative finally gets people upset enough, great!” writes crypto trader and Twitter influencer The Crypto Dog.
HitBTC does this as part of their common business practices.
If you try to withdraw an amount over X, they freeze your account until you KYC yourself.
They also do this if you use VPNs.
— Brad Mills [Jan/3🔑] (@bradmillscan) January 2, 2019
In either case, the issue surfaced when a Reddit user, under the account name u/pedxs, took to the HitBTC subreddit to complain about being unable to move their funds. The user’s account had reportedly been banned for a time half a year ago (for an undisclosed reason), and the exchange promised them that “no further automated restrictions will be applied.” However, u/pedxs now found themselves unable to withdraw the rest over 10 days ago, adding, “So far I have tried contacting them but only received automated responses. Communication has ceased for several days now, so I decided to post a warning on Reddit.”
Meanwhile, the exchange remains silent on the issue, only saying that “All requests are being processed by our Security dept.”
All requests are being processed by our Security dept. in queue order. Kindly wait.
— HitBTC (@hitbtc) January 2, 2019
“Various crypto media outlets have been reporting cases of users who tried to withdraw funds from our exchange and received the message “Withdrawals are temporarily disabled on your account”. It’s true: sometimes, when our security measures are triggered, withdrawals can be frozen momentarily. This happens for safety reasons only – it is standard procedure, and we do it simply because the security of our customers is our top priority,” HitBTC explained in an email to Cryptonews.com.
According to them, “these temporary, safety-related withdrawal freezings are a direct consequence of our international KYC [know your customer] and AML [anti-money laundering] measures.”
“These rules exist and apply to us and everybody, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. Therefore, we do not turn off any security tools or checks, ever. Not on regular days, and not on special days; including events and flashmobs such as Proof of Key Day (January 3rd). These (or any) events are not a reason for us to ease up the security that protects traders’ funds,” the exchange said.
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