Some of cryptocurrency’s best-known names have joined public calls for exchange HitBTC to explain itself after it began halting withdrawals days before a significant event.
Mayer: ‘Beware’ HitBTC
Trace Mayer, organizer of Proof of Keys, which calls for cryptocurrency owners to remove their holdings from third-party exchanges on January 3, condemned HitBTC for the move, reports of which began December 31.
“Has (HitBTC) failed Proof Of Keys? I do not have an account. Asked a friend to initiate a withdrawal. BEWARE!” he tweeted Tuesday.
“Result: ‘Withdrawals are temporarily disabled on your account.’”
— Trace Mayer [Jan/3➞₿?∎] (@TraceMayer) January 2, 2019
Other figures soon joined him, among them John McAfee, who reiterated his distrust of the exchange which he “warned” of earlier this year.
“Don’t sign up. Don’t use it. Withdtaw (sic) your funds,” he wrote.
I was trashed for calling out HitBT (sic) as a corrupt cimpany (sic). Tough shit. You had six months warning from me to withdraw your funds. Do not ask me to help you now.
Red Flags And Silence
Executives from HitBTC have so far failed to respond to any accusations, while it appears no other major exchange has copied its behavior.
Proof of Keys, announced by Mayer last month, aims to increase cryptocurrency investors’ proficiency in understanding decentralized networks, principally Bitcoin. By taking control of private keys and not relying on third parties to hold them, Mayer argues investors will help educate others, thus aiding adoption.
On Twitter, both Mayer’s and McAfee’s tweets saw multiple accusations of corruption and “scam” practices on the part of the company, but not everyone appeared convinced.
The Crypto Dog, an account mostly offering trading advice, suggested the timing was more coincidental than targeted at Proof of Keys, but that it provided a “narrative” by which to expose HitBTC’s other transgressions.
Others were more damning. Bitfi, the curious company endorsed by McAfee which in September U-turned on its claim it had created an “unhackable” wallet, said HitBTC had “blown its cover” and suggested it was insolvent.
“This is not like fractional reserve banking; this is just stealing your money,” executives commented.
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