Cryptocurrency exchange HitBTC has become reluctant to give its customers their money back, according to multiple sources.
On the 26th of July, the company apologised to the son of one of its customers after he used social media to pressure the company into allowing his mother to access her frozen account. Apparently, she had been locked out for three months and lost a considerable amount of money.
Update on my mom’s saga with @hitbtc. Her account is still locked, & after submitting a driver’s ID, passport, bank statements, utility bills, txids & screenshots, she had a skype convo with them this morning. This is their response. Her acc. has been frozen for 3 months #bitcoin pic.twitter.com/ms8baB5qaP
— sicarious (@Sicarious_) July 25, 2018
HitBTC versus Sicarious
A Twitter user called Sicarious, who describes himself as a ‘semi-retired crypto trader’ and who boasts 58,800 followers, informed those followers of his mum’s problems with HitBTC.
HitBTC is the fifth most-popular cryptocurrency exchange in the world, handling $316 million worth of cryptocurrency trading in the last 24 hours according to coinmarketcap.com. According to its website, the exchange was launched in 2013 and offers trading in more than 300 cryptocurrencies.
Apparently, the 65 year-old’s account had been locked for three months, and because of this she lost “thousands” as she was not able to respond to changes in the market. The exchange requested that she verify her identity, but apparently continued to refuse her access despite receiving a pile of documents including her driving licence, utility bills, bank statements and more. Sicarious decided to get his friends together to help out.
I rarely ask for such, but for once I’m going to ask something from my 50k followers. If you could retweet the thread and share any similar issues you’ve had with @hitbtc, I would greatly appreciate it. #bitcoin $crypto https://t.co/zLfQGmqnIU
— sicarious (@Sicarious_) July 25, 2018
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Sure enough, the story quickly gained traction and at this point HitBTC was quick to respond and apologise.
Dear @Sicarious_, please accept our sincere apologies. We have sent your mom a personal message in the ticket. Please know that we will be happy if, despite this experience, she continues trading with us. Best regards, HitBTC team.
— HitBTC (@hitbtc) July 26, 2018
Coincidentally, HitBTC was verbally attacked only a month ago by John McAfee, eccentric computer programmer and cryptocurrency zealot. He wrote to his own hefty social media following that HitBTC “has increased suffering for millions of poor people who cannot afford the minimum buy-in since it is greater than their monthly income.” He called for a boycott, and almost 3,000 people clicked ‘like’, which indicates something nowadays.
On top of this, only yesterday a Reddit user posted that he has not been able to access his coins for four months. Judging by the responses that he has received, is not alone in being unimpressed with the service.
In December 2017, we reported when a group of HitBTC customers threatened the firm with a class action lawsuit because it wasn’t honouring withdrawal requests, some of which were worth tens of thousands of dollars.
Where in the world is HitBTC?
According to its website, the exchange is owned by a company called HIT Solution Ltd (“Provide information technology IT and business intellegance [sic] BI solutions”) which according to its Linkedin page is based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The profiles of all of its eight registered employees are hidden.
The exchange’s mailing address is listed as in Hong Kong and its representative office in Las Condes, Chile.
According to Digiconomist, neither the location of its headquarters nor the identity of its owners can be confirmed. The review site points to another owner of the exchange, a Danish company called Ullus Corporations K/S, which was actually dissolved in February 2015.
Interestingly, when you enter hitbitc.com into an IP location tool, the result that comes back is Arizona.