OKEx Suspends Withdrawals As Private Key Holder Unavailable (UPDATED)

Major crypto exchange OKEx said it had to suspend cryptoasset withdrawals as one of their private key holders "is currently cooperating with a public security bureau in investigations" and the company is "out of touch" with the holder. (Updated at 13:23 UTC: updates in bold.)

Source: Adobe/dennizn

"We will resume digital assets/cryptocurrencies withdrawals immediately once the concerned private key holder is able to authorize the transaction," OKEx said.

"The decision to pause withdrawals temporarily was taken to be able to maintain our rigorous security standards. All funds are secure and all other features are available on the platform. We aim to restore a full service as quickly as possible," the exchange told Cryptonews.com.

However, at this stage, they "cannot provide an exact timeframe" when withdrawals might be resumed. Also, the company said that they have contingency plans in case a private key holder is not available "for an extended period of time." OKEx declined to specify on these plans.

Earlier today, Jay Hao, CEO of OKEx, also tweeted that all other operations on OKEx "remain unaffected" and "all your funds and assets are safe."

"The investigation concerns a certain private key holder’s personal issue only," the CEO said.

The founder of OKEx, Star Xu (real name Xu Mingxing) was taken in for questioning by police a week ago, Caixin reported, citing two undisclosed sources.

When asked by Cryptonews.com, OKEx declined to comment on this report, saying that they "are unable to reveal any information that may put our users' funds at risk."

Star Xu had some sort of contact with the Chinese police already in 2018. According to conflicting reports back then, Xu was held for a full 24 hours at police, while others claimed that Star Xu’s arrest was "fake news" and "that Xu, in fact, was seeking assistance from police."

Also, responding to claims that the company was "continuously" changing the time of the suspension of withdrawal, the exchange said that "pausing withdrawals was not a decision taken lightly."

"We are aware that it greatly affects the user experience. This is why it was finally decided as a last resort," they added.

On-chain balance of bitcoin (BTC) on OKEx stands at 276,185 (USD 3.14bn) and is the fourth largest among exchanges, according to chain.info data. It decreased by more than 2% in the past 24 hours, while other exchanges saw smaller changes, except Bitstamp (+6.9%).

Following the announcement, BTC dropped from USD 11,518 to below USD 11,280 in less than an hour, before rebounding. At pixel time (13:15 UTC), BTC trades at USD 11,377 and is unchanged in a day. Other coins from the top 10 are down 2%-5% in a day. OKB, the native token of OKEx, is down by 9.5% in a day, trading at USD 5.3.


Learn more:
This Is How BitMEX Juggled Private Keys Amid Crackdown
Confusion Over Conflicting Reports About OKEx Founder