HitBTC Allegedly Holding User's Funds Hostage Despite Submission of Proof of ID

  • One Redditor claims HitBTC is holding his funds hostage, despite having documents necessary for KYC/AML checks.
  • Users on social media are accusing it of selective scamming.
  • Searching for complaints against the exchange leads to a plethora of results.

HitBTC, a controversial cryptocurrency exchange, is once again under fire as one Redditor claims it’s holdings his funds hostage while demanding he verifies his social media accounts, even after proving information regarding his identity.

According to Reddit user Allomancer_Jak, the cryptocurrency exchange is currently holding his funds hostage, even though he attempted to verify his identity with the exchange by sending a photo of himself and his passport in front of an email from HitBTC’s security team.

When this wasn’t good enough for the exchange, the Redditor added, he included proof of his residency and his bank statement in the documents sent to the cryptocurrency exchange, but to no avail.

In its most recent demands, the exchange is asking the user to log in to the platform without using a virtual private network (VPN) – which may allow it to record where he is logging in from. It further asked him to provide information on the origin of deposited funds. The message HitBTC send the user reads:

For your convenience, the origin of funds report may be presented in a free form as a chain of events in chronological order, every step validated with blockchain explorer data, screenshots, and data used on other crypto infrastructure services, so that we would be able to contact them for verification, if needed.

HitBTC

It added that the user should send over links of his social media accounts, presumably to verify he has an online presence.

In addition, kindly update us with the data regarding your social networks presence, i.e. the links to your profile in major social networks.

HitBTC

These demands came after the user sent over Coinbase transaction records that he purchased his BTC with fiat currency on the platform. Tracing the path of his funds through the blockchain could be extremely hard or nearly impossible.

As various users commenting on the Reddit post noted, anyone could impersonate Allomancer_Jak on social media. Some believe HitBTC, along with other companies associated with it, are selectively scamming, meaning they pick specific targets to scam while operating as legitimate organizations.

Searching for complaints online against the exchange leads to a plethora of results, which implies something is indeed going on. As CryptoGlobe covered, eccentric cybersecurity pioneer John McAfee even launched a campaign against it earlier this year.

McAfee’s campaign, however, was likely motivated by HitBTC’s withdrawals fees on a project the bitcoin bull invested in. The cybersecurity expert accused HitBTC of being liable for the “death of untold people,” over a lack of support for Docademic (MTC), a project that claims to offer users free health care services.

The cryptocurrency exchange recently barred Japanese users from its platforms, as it’s set to launch a licensed subsidiary in the country in Q3 this year.

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Ripple CEO: 'You Don’t Want to Use BTC at Starbucks'

On Thursday (January 23), Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, told the Wallet Street Journal (WSJ) that Bitcoin is not a good means of payment because BTC transactions take too long.

The Ripple CEO's comments were made during his talk with Phillipa Leighton-Jones (Editorial Director for Innovation) at a Ripple-sponsored event (organized by the WSJ) called "Ripple Panel: Changing the Finance Industry From Within" held alongside this year's World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

Although we don't yet have a full transcript of this interview, we do know about two of the things he talked about thanks to tweets by Asheesh Birla, SVP of Product at Ripple, who was at this event.

First, it seems that although the Ripple CEO likes Bitcoin as a store of value, he does not see (at least, as of now) as a viable means of payment. The example he gave was paying for a cup of coffee at Starbucks. He believes that BTC transactions take so long to confirm that by the time you have finished paying for your coffee, "it'll be cold." 

Second, within the next 12 months, he sees several companies in the crypto space holding initial public offerings (IPOs) and he wants Ripple to be "on the leading side" since this is "a natural evolution" for Ripple, which raised $200 million via a Series C funding round (which valued the company at $10 billion) last month. 

On Wednesday (January 22), Ripple published the "Q4 2019 XRP Markets Report", which is a quarterly report that allows Ripple to "voluntarily provide transparency and regular updates on the company’s views on the state of the XRP market, including quarterly programmatic and institutional sales updates, relevant XRP-related announcements such as Xpring and RippleNet partnerships and commentary on previous quarter market developments." 

In Q4 2019, Ripple's total XRP sales were down just over 80% compared to the preceding quarter ($13.08 million vs. $66.24 million). Ripple "continued the pause of programmatic sales" (to crypto exchanges), and focused exclusively on over-the-counter (OTC) sales to "a few strategic partners, who are building XRP utility and liquidity in strategic regions including EMEA and Asia."

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