AscendEX reopens after $ 80 million hack, Huobi suffers departures of key personnel, government officials punished for mining activities – Cointelegraph Magazine
This weekly roundup of news from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong attempts to present the most important news in the industry, including influential projects, changes in the regulatory landscape and blockchain integrations of ‘business.
We thought we had bottomed out for Chinese exchanges last week as Bitmart was at the unfortunate end of a $ 150 million hack. This week was pretty much the same, as AscendEX lost $ 80 million due to a similar style of theft. affecting its hot Ethereum, BSC and Polygon wallet. On December 16, AscendEX released a security postmortem detailing the attack:
A thorough security audit identified the breach as the result of a hardware-level vulnerability exploit originating from a third-party infrastructure used by AscendEX. The infiltration was carried out by highly sophisticated criminals. We worked closely with law enforcement as well as blockchain forensics companies to deepen our knowledge of the incident.
Like Bitmart, AscendEX responded quickly, reassuring the community that its funds would be safe and accounted for, limiting the damage to its reputation. AscendEX, formerly known as BitMax, had done a relatively impressive job of attracting users around the world and had just closed a $ 50 million Series B in November 2021. This round included big names like Polychain Capital, Alameda Research and Jump Capital. , giving the stock market the momentum needed to adopt a true global growth strategy in the wake of stifling Chinese regulations.
Difficult times at Huobi?
On December 15, one of the oldest exchanges restricted the accounts of millions of its Chinese users. Chinese users have until the end of December to access user-to-user OTC services, possibly to have the option to cash out before the services are completely shut down. Most savvy users are likely to find loopholes in the regulations by opting out of chain wallets or exchanges with more flexible policies.
Before Binance‘s incredible growth during the ICO boom in 2017, Huobi was the world’s largest exchange by volume and liquidity. Focusing on Chinese users, he had tried to work with local regulators first with offices in Beijing, as well as special innovation zones in Hainan and other parts of China. This strategy has proven to be short-sighted after regulators took a zero-tolerance approach to crypto exchanges earlier this year, forcing the exchange to slowly phase out services for Chinese traders. Huobi had little room to hide, as his “first-come advantage” made him too visible to evade regulators.
Colin Wu wrote on internal difficulties at Huobi, noting that COO Robin Zhu has retired from leadership, while a number of other key members have left for further exchanges, including Bybit. Notable departures include charismatic head of global assets Ciara Sun. She had built her reputation in China on a combination of effective business development and her branding photos with cats.
✨ Some personal news ✨
More details to come but first, a small discussion thread 👇
– Ciara Soleil (@Crypto_Ciara) December 13, 2021
Still, there might be room for the old top exchange to bounce back, as Huobi said two weeks ago that its new regional headquarters would be located in Singapore. This is an interesting choice given that Binance revealed on December 13 that it had abandoned its plan to launch an exchange in Singapore. Although the island nation is known to be progressive in its regulations, the licensing process can be quite strict, especially for Binance which was already the target of rule violations by many policymakers.
If Huobi is able to replace key executives wisely, he could use his financial and strategic resources in Asia to start regaining market share. Currently, Huobi sits in fifth place on FTX‘s volume monitor, roughly the size of KuCoin and Bybit, but far behind former rival OKEx. OKEx has been the biggest winner in recent weeks, taking significant volume from Huobi and clearly becoming the second largest exchange in the world.
Government officials in hot water
A national security inspection investigation found that 34 state-owned companies have been active in mining cryptocurrency using state resources, including equipment and networks. Unspecified sentences were imposed on 48 people, including 21 members of the party and the government. Another 70 people were questioned and warned for failing to provide sufficient education on the matter.
Adoption in Hong Kong
18% of Hong Kong residents are active cryptocurrency investors and 13% are passive investors, according to a new survey released by Visa on December 9. It was the second largest market after the United States among the markets examined. This is not surprising given the number of physical locations of cryptocurrency stores and businesses established in the Special Administrative Region. The Visa survey collected 6,430 online responses from August 25 to September 13 in regions such as Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Hong Kong, South Africa, United States and the United Kingdom.