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Huobi Shuts Down its US-based Crypto Exchange
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Huobi Shuts Down its US-based Crypto Exchange

Huobi Group’s partner exchange aimed at American customers, HBUS, is closing its operations after a little more than a year in business.

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Announced Monday, HBUS said it would stop offering trading services from Dec. 15 and customers have until Jan. 31 to withdraw their funds. The San Francisco-based exchange said it plans to “return in a more integrated” way as part of its “ongoing strategic layout” without disclosing any further details.

Just last month, Huobi froze all accounts of U.S. users and encouraged users to use HBUS. “You may open an account in HBUS, if needed, the exclusive US strategic partner of Huobi Global, and transfer your assets to their platform,” the announcement read.

HBUS launched in the U.S. in July 2018 after long negotiations with Huobi Group. HBUS, a fully compliant U.S. entity, licensed part of Huobi’s software and used the Huobi.com domain. However, HBUS struggled to gain traction amid strong competition in the U.S. as well as internal issues. Huobi.com now once again directs to Huobi.

The shutdown follows the exits of key members of HBUS’ executive team. Oren Blonstein, who took over the CEO position in September, left the company in December, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The post was previously helmed by Frank Fu, who is now a managing director at Fenbushi Capital.

Huobi’s Story

Huobi is a Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange. Founded in China, the company now has offices in Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and the United States. In August 2018 it became a publicly listed Hong Kong company.

Following a 2017 ban on Bitcoin exchanges by the Chinese government, Huobi stopped Bitcoin withdrawals. Huobi China continues to operate as a blockchain consulting and research platform. As of March 2018, Huobi processed around US $1 billion in trades daily.

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On May 15, 2013, the Huobi Group acquired the huobi.com domain. On August 1, Huobi launched a simulation trading platform, and on September 1 the Bitcoin trading platform launched.

In November 2013, Huobi received angel investments from Dai Zhikang and Zhen Fund. In 2014, Huobi raised a $10 million venture capital investment from Sequoia Capital. In August 2014, Huobi acquired Bitcoin wallet provider Quick Wallet.

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

In December 2013, trading volume exceeded 30 billion yuan, making Huobi China’s largest digital asset trading platform at the time. In June 2016, its total transaction volume reached 1 trillion RMB, and in November 2016 1.7 trillion yuan, accounting for more than 60% of the global bitcoin exchange market. On December 22, 2016, its daily transaction volume surpassed 200 billion yuan.

In April 2015, Huobi partnered with Tsinghua University in a “Digital Asset Research Initiative”, and sponsored a “Digital Asset Research Project” at the Internet Finance Laboratory of Wudaokou Tsinghua School of Finance.

On July 1, 2016, the Huobi Network Blockchain Research Center published a report, “Blockchain: Defining a New Financial and Economic Future”. On December 20, 2016, Huobi joined the Fintech Digital Asset Alliance (Shenzhen) along with the Fintech Research Institute of China under the guidance of the Shenzhen Municipal Government.

Huobi has offices in Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. The US strategic partner of Huobi is HBUS, headquartered in San Francisco, California and was launched in July 2018.

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