Bitfinex Releases Whitepaper to Confirm $1 Billion Initial Exchange Offering

Cryptoasset exchange Bitfinex has confirmed that it is planning to raise $1 billion through an initial exchange offering (IEO).

Bitfinex, which operates under its parent company iFinex, Inc., a British Virgin Islands incorporated and Hong Kong-operated financial technology firm, has released a whitepaper, titled “Initial Exchange Offering of LEO Tokens For Use on iFinex Trading Platforms.”

$1 Billion LEO Token Sale, Not For US-based Investors

The whitepaper, which was published on May 8th, 2019, clarifies that the LEO tokens will not be sold to US-based investors. Transactions involving the exchange’s new token may also be prohibited in other jurisdictions, IFinex's paper states.

According to iFinex’s latest whitepaper, the firm made net profits of around $730 million for FY 2017/2018, however the New York Attorney General recently alleged that the company may have lost $850 million - after it began working with Crypto Capital, a cryptocurrency payment processing service provider.

Private Token Sale Will End On May 11th, 2019

Although the whitepaper regarding Bitfinex’s IEO has now been officially released, there had been unconfirmed reports earlier that the exchange operator’s management was planning to raise funds through a token sale.

As confirmed in the whitepaper, Bitfinex’s management intends to sell up to 1 billion LEO tokens, with each worth 1 USDT. The private token sale will reportedly end on May 11th, 2019.

If required, a public token sale may be launched afterwards in order to meet the fundraising target.

Those who purchase LEO tokens may use them for transactions conducted on Bitfinex or for various other purposes, the whitepaper noted. Meanwhile, Bitfinex’s management might try to use the funds raised to recover from the potential losses incurred due to the alleged mismanagement of funds by Crypto Capital.

Public Token Sale Will Be Conducted If “Fewer Than 1 Billion USDT Tokens Sold”

However, it is still unclear whether the funds ($850 million) have actually been seized by American, Portuguese, and Polish authorities - as Crypto Capital had claimed earlier.

As noted in the whitepaper, if less than 1 billion LEO tokens are sold iFinex may sell the remaining tokens after this token sale has concluded. At present, IFinex, Inc. is still contesting the charges it faces, from the New York Attorney General, in a US court.

Bitfinex Investors Not Concerned About Fraud Allegations

Last month, Bitfinex shareholder Zhao Dong had been trying to reassure crypto industry participants that the exchange is solvent. According to the prominent shareholder, Giancarlo Devasini, the Chief Financial Officer at Bitfinex, had told investors that the situation they were facing was temporary and that the funds would be recovered soon.

Notably, Dong has also been accepting pre-orders for Bitfinex’s upcoming token sale through his crypto-lending application Renrenbit. The well-known investor had reportedly taken pre-orders from users who wanted to participate in the public phase of Bitfinex’s upcoming $1 billion token sale, even before IFinex published an official whitepaper for it.

Bitrue Hacked: $4.5 Million in XRP and ADA Stolen, User Funds Will Be Replaced

At around 17:00 UTC on June 26 or 01:00 on June 27 in Singapore, where digital asset exchange Bitrue is based, a security breach occurred, which resulted in a loss of $4.5 million in crypto from the exchange's hot wallets.

Bitrue, which was founded in 2018, has quickly become a favorite with members of the XRP community because of the high degree of enthusiasm, support, and transparency shown by its management towards XRP. One interesting fact about Bitrue is that it supported XRP as a base currency on the day that its trading platform was launched (19 July 2018). 

At press time (07:57 UTC on June 27), visitors to the Bitrue website are greeted with this message:

Bitrue Hack Announcement.png

Around 02:16 UTC on June 27, Bitrue issued an official statement (via a series of tweets) that explained what exactly had happened, how this impacted its users, and what it was going to do next:

  • At approximately 17:00 UTC on June 26, a hacker or group of hackers "exploited a vulnerability" in the exchange's "Risk Control team's 2nd review process" to "access the personal funds of about 90 Bitrue users."
  • The hackers "used what they learned from this breach" to steal around $4.5 million in crypto—more specifically 9.3 million XRP and 2.5 million Cardano (ADA)—from the exchange's hot wallets and moved these coins to various other exchanges.
  • Shortly after the security breach, this attack was detected and trading, withdrawals, and deposits were all suspended on Bitrue, and the three exchanges where the stolen funds were moved to—Huobi Global, Bittrex, and ChangeNOW—were alerted and asked to freeze "the affected funds and accounts." Bitrue has also "contacted the relevant authorities in Singapore to assist us in tracking down the culprit and retrieving the stolen funds."
  • Because initially it was not quite clear what exactly had happened, the message shown above (about "system maintenance") was posted on the Bitrue website... Bitrue wishes to apologize for "this miscommunication" with its users.
  • Bitrue wants to reassure its users that all "heir personal funds are insured, and anybody affected by this breach will have their funds replaced by us as soon as possible."
  • Bitrue is currently "conducting an emergency inspection of the exchange and hope to be live again as soon as possible with log in & trading functionality." As for withdrawals, they will be "offline for a slightly longer period" while the investigation continues.
  • The flow of stolen XRP can be tracked via the XRP Ledger tool at Bithomp: https://bithomp.com/explorer/rwSvajJ4ZNhjgzcfaJWkEuLh4VURTFHuka

In communication with CryptoGlobe, Bitrue's support team confirmed that:

  • all user funds are "insured up to a maximum value of 1 million USD per user"; and
  • "trading should be back up within a few hours, and at that time users who were affected will already have their lost funds back in their accounts"

A few hours ago, Bitrue CEO Curis Wang posted this message on Twitter:

UPDATE (08:15 on June 27): Bitrue has just released a statement to media outlets to provide further details about this incident:

  • Of the $4.5 million in stolen crypto, 50% was "moved to private wallets," and the other 50% was moved to five crypto exchanges: Huobi, Bittrex, ChangeNOW, Exmo.me, and Coinswitch.co. The first three have frozen the stolen funds that were moved there (worth around $1.35 million). 
  • "This frozen amount should be recoverable by Bitrue in the future after working with the authorities and exchanges."
  • "After recovering the frozen assets, the net loss will be $3.15 million USD." This total "includes $1.89 million USD lost from individual user accounts, and $1.26 million USD lost from Bitrue’s own hot wallet."
  • "The funds lost by user accounts were insured and will be replaced by Bitrue as soon as the exchange resumes service."
  • "Bitrue plans to re-enable log in and trading services by midnight (Singapore time) June 27, i.e. by 16:00 UTC on June 27.
  • "Withdrawals from the exchange will not be possible until the Bitrue team is confident that any security vulnerabilities have been addressed."
  • "Bitrue will continue the planned launch of the trading of their platform token, Bitrue Coin (BTR), on Sunday 30 June 2019."
  • "Bitrue will analyze their automated systems and manual processes to identify any potential vulnerabilities and patch them before they can be exploited."

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