Crypto exchange BitForex halts withdrawals, stops responding to users

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A Hong Kong-based crypto exchange has suspended withdrawals for at least three days without warning.

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Crypto exchange BitForex halts withdrawals, stops responding to users

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Hong Kong-based crypto exchange BitForex has halted withdrawals for at least three days without giving a reason. Before the halt, around $56 million in crypto had been withdrawn from the exchange’s wallets. 

In a Feb. 23 X post, on-chain sleuth ZachXBT said three BitForex hot wallets saw outflows of around $56.5 million in cryptocurrencies before the exchange stopped processing transactions.

Seeing some suspicious activity with the crypto exchange @bitforexcom.

On Feb 23 their hot wallets saw outflows of ~$56.5M. Shortly after this time withdrawals stopped processing with no official announcements having been made since.

Currently users are asking questions on…

— ZachXBT (@zachxbt) February 26, 2024

Related: $56M moved from defunct exchange after executives fled

The exchange’s X account hasn’t been updated since May 2023. On its official Telegram channel, BitForex users are reporting problems with their accounts, varying from the inability to enter their accounts to the dashboard not showing any assets. Several users shared a pop-up screen showing they are blocked from accessing the company’s website.

Cointelegraph tried to open the BitForex website but was met with the same problem. However, some specific pages of the exchange’s website are still live. For example, a Jan. 31 announcement revealing that BitForex CEO Jason Luo had left the company was still live on the website at the time of publication.

Screenshot from the BitForex website showing it has been blocked. Source: BitForex

In September 2023, BitForex was among the leading global crypto exchanges in terms of capitalization. Its daily trading volume stood at about $2.6 billion in crypto. At present, CoinMarketCap doesn’t provide live data on BitForex.

In April 2023, Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) accused BitForex of violating the country’s fund settlement laws. According to the FSA, the exchange had been conducting business in the country without proper registration.

However, since then, BitForex hasn’t drawn any significant attention from regulators or the media.

Last week, another Hong Kong exchange, Atom Asset Exchange (AAX), moved around $55.6 million worth of Ether (ETH) from its wallets. AAX stopped all its operations on Nov. 13, 2022, just two days after FTX filed for bankruptcy. Following its shutdown, AAX’s former CEO Thor Chan and board member Haoming Liang were arrested by Hong Kong police in 2022. However, the founder of AAX, whose identity remains unknown, is allegedly still on the run with 230 million Hong Kong dollars ($29.41 million) worth of users’ money and private keys holding access to exchange wallets.

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