OKEx Suspends Withdrawals, Says Key Holder Not Available Due to Cooperation With Investigation

16 October 2020

OKEx has suspended all cryptocurrency withdrawals indefinitely, saying one of the exchange’s key holders has “been out of touch” with the exchange because they are “currently cooperating with a public security bureau in investigations.” OKEx’ CEO later said the investigation is due to the key holder’s “personal issue.”

  • Most of the top cryptocurrencies sold off on the news, with the price of bitcoin on OKEx dropping 3% in 30 minutes, touching $11,182 Friday morning, before starting to rebound to $11,326 at last check.
  • The key holder's being out of touch prevented withdrawal authorization from being completed, the exchange wrote in a notice published early Friday morning.
  • Meanwhile, Chinese news source Caixin is reporting one of OKEx's founders, Mingxing "Star" Xu, had been taken by police at least a week ago and hasn't been seen since.
  • Hours before OKEx's announcement, significant withdrawals of ether, tron and bitcoin were completed from known OKEx-affiliated addresses, as picked up by on-chain transaction monitoring service Whale Alert.
  • "OKEx’s other functions remain normal and stable and the security of your assets at OKEx will not affected," the notice read. "We will resume digital assets/cryptocurrencies withdrawals immediately once the concerned private key holder is able to authorize the transaction."
  • OKEx CEO Jay Hao claimed the key holder's cooperation with officials was due to a "personal issue" and the investigation would not affect the business, according to a Weibo post.
  • Taking to Twitter, Hao indicated that non-crypto withdrawals should still be processing, claiming that all non-crypto or digital asset operations were unaffected.
  • Later on Friday, OKEx said in a statement: "We are unable to disclose the nature of an ongoing investigation but would like to assure all OKEx users that their funds are safe and that all other functions on OKEx are unaffected."
  • It added that further updates will be provided.
  • The Malta-based exchange is the second-largest cryptocurrency derivatives platform by 24-hour volume, according to Skew.

Read also: OKEx Founder ‘Star’ Xu Named as Key Holder in Police Custody: Report

Update (Oct. 16, 4:50 UTC): This article has been updated with information about coin withdrawals, price of bitcoin.
Update (Oct. 16, 6:12 UTC): This article has been updated with public statements from CEO Jay Hao.
Update (Oct. 16, 10:36 UTC): This article has been updated with report naming a founder of OKEx who is likely the individual behind the withdrawal issue.
Update (Oct. 16, 11:38 UTC): This article has been updated with a statement from OKEx.

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