• Huobi’s Twitter account appeared to vanish earlier this week, which led many to speculate that the exchanges days were numbered
  • While the exchange made changes to derivatives rules for China-based traders, it says its business as usual

Huobi’s Twitter account is back online after vanishing earlier in the week, and the exchange says that “everything is back to normal.”

“Earlier there was an unauthorized attempt on our account, and it was frozen to ensure user safety,” the exchange wrote in a Twitter update. “Currently there are many rumors floating out there in the world of crypto. Huobi assures that we are operating under fully legal and compliant standards to best protect users and your assets.”

When the account disappeared it led many to think that Seychelles-incorporated, but Hong Kong-listed Huobi had been caught in the crosshairs of the territory’s regulators.

Hong Kong, in theory an autonomous territory, has been cracking down on crypto alongside Beijing. Hong Kong restricts exchanges to professional investors only — Huobi opens its doors to everyone — and while the firm is Seychelles registered, it is publicly listed on the Hong Kong exchange. 

A source at an Asia-based trading and research firm that spoke to Blockworks said that regulators in China have taken concern with the amount of leverage offered to users. New users that onboard onto the platform aren’t able to trade leveraged derivatives, and existing users can only use a maximum of 5x leverage. 

The source also said that the volatility of the market has put some stress on the exchange, and there have been issues with withdrawals. He explained that as bitcoin is “range bound” — a phenomenon where the asset’s price bounces between a specific high price and a low price finding strong resistance on both sides — this had to be done to mitigate internal risk.  

Both Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission, its markets regulator, and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, its central bank, declined to comment on inquiries about an ongoing investigation into Huobi. Neither authority has publicly announced that they are pursuing enforcement actions against the exchange either. 

Earlier this month, securities regulators in Thailand, as part of the country’s broader crackdown on crypto offerings with “no clear objectives or substance”, ordered Huobi to cease operations until it cleans up its organizational structure and reconfigures its offerings to become compliant with local regulatory standards.

Huobi, for its part, is planning to re-enter the market with a different name and product offering later in the year and has given its current clients until August 31 to withdraw all assets from its Thai platform. 

  • Blockworks
    Sam Reynolds is a Taipei-based reporter, covering digital assets and regulation throughout Asia. Before joining Blockworks he was an editor at Forkast News and an analyst with IDC.