Founded in 2013, HitBTC is one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges still standing. Following the platform’s history and background leads us to explore the more dubious side of the cryptocurrency scene. We take a closer look at HitBTC and the risks of engaging with this exchange.
History and Background
As the self-proclaimed “most advanced Bitcoin exchange” in the market, HitBTC officially launched in February 2014 and boomed weeks after Mt. Gox — the biggest crypto exchange in the world at the time — halted all withdrawals. The fall of Mt. Gox gave HitBTC an opportunity to provide a solution to the fresh need for a new high-volume cryptocurrency exchange.
In February 2015, a massive hack was performed across three different exchange platforms: Bter, Excoin, and HitBTC. While Bter and Excoin were immediately transparent about their security breaches, HitBTC denies having been hacked.
In the past few years, crypto traders began decrying HitBTC as the longest-running and potentially largest fraudulent entity in the blockchain industry. HitBTC users have been reporting cases of account freezing, withdrawal holds, disappearing balances, and even identity theft.
Advantages and Disadvantages
One of the main advantages of HitBTC is also a strong potential disadvantage: the variety of coins listed. HitBTC currently has over 800 trading pairs, placing it far above the average cryptocurrency exchange in terms of coin variety. However, HitBTC is known to have conducted aggressive outreach efforts to projects for listings that HitBTC allegedly profited from. The number of coins integrated (and then disintegrated) as well as the suspected lack of due diligence on behalf of HitBTC in vetting these coins may lead traders to believe the HitBTC team values profit over longevity and providing its users promising projects.
HitBTC allows fiat deposits, but only through wire transfer. The platform does, however, allow its users to buy Bitcoin (BTC) with a credit card, so beginners can still easily buy into crypto on this platform.
HitBTC offers competitively low trading fees with maker and taker fees starting at 0.07% for those moving less than 10 BTC in the last 30-day period. High volume traders moving more than 20,000 BTC enjoy a 0% maker fee, while those trading over 50,000 BTC are actually rewarded a 0.01% rebate for each trade. The taker fees for high volume traders moving more than 20,000 BTC begin at 0.04%. The exchange, however, does have incredibly high withdrawal flat fees with BTC withdrawals costing 0.0015 BTC, worth over $10 USD at the time of writing. Withdrawal fees are not disclosed on HitBTC’s website outside of user accounts, but are reportedly often 10–40 times higher than other exchanges.
Latest HitBTC News
Coinfirm, a leading auditing firm in regtech for digital currencies and blockchain-based financial ecosystem, released a report of HitBTC’s proof of reserves in May 2019. HitBTC was found to allegedly have only approximately $3 million USD in BTC and ETH across its hot and cold wallets. In April 2019, the company was found to be holding only 245 BTC across wallets, and even fewer in May 2019 when HitBTC held 243 BTC and 4,945 ETH in their hot and cold wallets.
At the time of the report, HitBTC claimed to have $537 million among all its BTC trading pairs, as well as ETH trading pairs amounting to approximately $155 million in a 24-hour period. This highly suspicious discrepancy has led many in the cryptocurrency community to believe that HitBTC is likely insolvent.
The report released by Coinfirm also suggested the know-your-customer (KYC) policy that HitBTC did not initially require but later introduced was forced on its users when it was “convenient” for the company. Once KYC became mandatory on HitBTC, many users’ funds and accounts were quickly frozen, raising massive red flags to suggest HitBTC may be scamming its users. The KYC requirement also aligned with a hike withdrawal fees, suggesting that HitBTC is trying to discourage withdrawals and exiting the exchange, potentially due to its suspected insolvency.
How Revain Can Help
While it has gone through many dramatic events and developments, the cryptocurrency scene is still young and relatively unregulated. Reviews of HitBTC range from generally positive to sharp criticisms of negligence and fraud.
It can be difficult to find reliable information on the risks of engaging with an anonymous group of founders, and user experience feedback is the most valuable resource the crypto community possesses in the quickly changing digital world.
Revain offers cryptocurrency users and traders a platform to report on both positive and negative aspects of cryptocurrency exchanges, as well as individual coins and tokens. Revain prioritises authenticity in user reviews, especially regarding opaque situations like HitBTC’s controversy in which the company is often accused of disseminating unfounded positive comments and reviews to drown out authentic user frustrations.
Reviews on Revain also can’t be altered or deleted. To protect and encourage honest feedback, Revain uses blockchain and AI technology to filter spam reviews, detect feedback floods, and identify any abuse of our reward model. Our platform is powered by neural networks and machine learning — constantly gathering information for a sharper filtration system.
Once a feedback review passes our manual and AI filtration systems, the reviewer is rewarded in RVN tokens, an absolutely stable internal currency. Revain also has R, a second native token listed on dozens of exchanges. Other companies are able to award RVN tokens to writers of high-caliber reviews, but it is the users and their feedback that control how each project or exchange is rated. In a market where fraud and less-than-promising projects still have an abundance of opportunities, Revain’s unique reward model exists to promote transparency and accountability.