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News/Crisis or Opportunity? Unravelling the Twists In the Huobi Saga

Crisis or Opportunity? Unravelling the Twists In the Huobi Saga

Aug 8 2023

10 months ago4 minutes read
a robot confused by the news about huobi insolvency speculation

Turbulence at Huobi: Insolvency Rumors and Exits

Written by Van

In the usually bustling world of cryptocurrency, recent events at Huobi, a well-known cryptocurrency exchange, have created a stir. Noticed were significant outflows of funds and a drop in total value locked (TVL) amidst insolvency whispers and investigations rumors originating from China.

Results from a short span of two days between the 5th and 6th of August showed the exchange losing outflows to the tune of $64 million. These losses prompted a dip in its TVL, bringing it down from its previous $3.09 billion on July 6th to $2.5 billion.

Drilling down deep into these losses revealed that Bitcoin (BTC) consisted of a third of the $64 million lost. Not far off, Tron’s native token (TRX) and Huobi Token (HT) stood at 26.5% and 20.3% losses respectively.

As the situation unraveled, Huobi reportedly had its leadership facing arrests in China, although these were allegations. These arrests were supposedly due to their association with illegal gambling platforms. Crypto investigator Adam Cochran confirmed the authenticity of these claims, citing a ‘verified’ source. 

adam cochran tweet.webp
Source: Adam Cochran/ Twitter

A C-suite executive left Huobi recently, but it is still not clear if this exit is related to these allegations. Puzzlement further compounded when Cochran hinted at possible inconsistencies in Huobi’s Tether holdings. This act led many to suggest that Huobi, tragically, could be insolvent.

Huobi's Tether and USD Coin (USDC) holdings were less than a $90 million on August 5, contrasting massively with its Merkle Tree Audit claims of $630 million in Tether held by Huobi users and a wallet balance of $631 million Tether. With these figures, Cochran's stark conclusion was that Huobi was "deeply insolvent."

However, Justin Sun, Tron’s founder, and also an advisor to Huobi, attempted to cool down the growing speculations about the crypto exchange’s challenges. He took to Twitter to quell anxieties, a contrast to Cochran’s views.

justin sun tweet.webp
Source: Justin Sun/ Twitter

In yet another puzzling twist, Huobi employees were whispered to being informed that the platform’s assets were greatly connected to its advisor, Sun. The situation turned murkier when Tron tried to distance itself from the allegations, pointing fingers at Huobi instead.

Meanwhile, data from pointed to Huobi's stablecoin exchange balances reducing by 33% in only the last week. The exchange recorded traders withdrawing $49 million in stablecoins

A well-known developer and supporter of Dogecoin named Mishaboar has urged the community to withdraw their DOGE holdings from Huobi due to growing concerns. The contributor expressed doubts about Huobi's reserves and warned that the commonly used proof-of-reserves concept can be deceptive and not accurately represent an exchange's liabilities.

dogecoin dev tweet.webp
Source: Mishaboar/ Twitter

Despite these headwinds, Huobi still manages to hold nearly $1 billion in highly liquid assets, including $886.92 million in Bitcoin, $48.27 million in USDT, and $5.41 million in USDC. It also holds $119.4 million in stETH and $21.8 million in wETH.

While the cloud of insolvency looms over Huobi, it is still commendable how the exchange managed to chalk up $30 million in profits in Q1 on $150 million revenue. This profit is even when, in contrast, Coinbase works at a loss during the bear, albeit on heaps more revenue.

Whale Deposits Amidst the Huobi Meltdown

The tempest facing Huobi took a surprising turn on August 8, 2023, with a significant whale depositing a massive sum into the beleaguered crypto exchange. 

This sizable deposit, which saw $200 million worth of Tether (USDT) and a transaction of 5,000 Ether (ETH), valued at an additional $9.15 million, make its way into Huobi, provided a significant boost to the exchange's holdings of USDT and Ether.

huobi money inflow (1).webp
Source: DefiLlama

Adding yet another twist to the tale, the exchange's spokesperson categorically denied any links between the whale's address, responsible for making the massive deposits, and Tron's founder and Huobi advisor, Justin Sun. Interestingly, the address linked with these substantial inflows is amongst the top 10 holders of the TRX token, further muddying the waters.

Meanwhile, PeckShieldAlert reported that an address associated with Justin Sun on the Tron network took out 200 million USDT from JustLend, a lending platform based on Tron, and transferred the money to the Huobi crypto exchange.

peckshield justin sun address.webp
Source: PeckShieldAlert/ Twitter

These massive transactions fortify Huobi's USDT reserves, increasing the supply to an impressive $273 million, as quantified by the data from DefiLlama. Additionally, Huobi holds a commanding balance of $400 million in stUSDT. This Sun-backed offering functions as the first real-world asset protocol within the Tron Network.

huobi token breakdown august 8 (1).webp
Source: DefiLlama

Before that, there was an exodus of funds from Huobi. Data furnished by revealed a significant outflow of Ethereum-based tokens totaling approximately $92.2 million from the exchange during the last week alone. The overall outflow across all blockchains within the same span amounted to $101 million.

However, with over $602 million in net inflows in the past 24 hours, Huobi’s asset balance has been back to its level on July 6. 

defillama huobi cex balance (1).webp
Source: DefiLlama

The tumultuous climate seemed to have little impact on Huobi's native token, HT, which registered a 1.1% decline in its daily price, slightly down to $2.62. It has posted a nearly 3% drop over the past week.

Huobi’s Response Amidst the Storm

In response to the various controversies and rumors circling it, Huobi recently shared its decision to list PayPal's stablecoin, PYUSD. The exchange will be the first to house the PYUSD stablecoin and offers trade pairs PYUSD/USDT with zero trading fees permanently.

While Huobi’s decision is awaited with intense anticipation, it still hasn’t yet stated a date for listing PayPal’s coin. It only mentioned that it would open trading with suitable market conditions.

The announcement of this decision followed a tweet by Huobi advisor Justin Sun, who had expressed hopes of PayPal thinking of issuing PYUSD on Tron’s blockchain. PayPal had recently joined hands with Paxos for introducing its U.S. dollar stablecoin, underlining that full U.S. dollar deposit backing and similar cash equivalents support it.

Source: Justin Sun/ Twitter

While Huobi is taking considerable efforts to sustain its place in the market, the seas ahead are still rough. The rumors of possible arrests of Huobi executives in China are still afloat, this time reported by a Hong Kong Media outlet. 

According to FX168 Financial News, Huobi PR representative Xie Jiayin stated that the platform is functioning normally and urged the community not to circulate or trust any unfounded rumors.

Even while Huobi is busy addressing the various allegations surrounding it, the assurances coming from Tron's Justin Sun suggest an attempt to maintain confidence among users and investors. This precarious situation is a stark reminder to stakeholders in the crypto space to exercise due diligence and remain informed about operational risks and regulations that come with crypto exchanges and platforms.

Proof of Reserves: Huobi's Recent Actions

In an ominous climate, Huobi recently took steps to stabilize its position and counter the insolvency rumors afflicting the exchange. In an unexpected move, Huobi contacted several data platforms to rectify its digital currency holdings, according to a recent announcement.

As part of this unexpected course of action, Huobi decided to share its bank statements with Wu Blockchain, an acclaimed crypto media outlet. According to Wu Blockchain's report, Huobi had garnered approximately half a billion dollars in readily available assets by the 6th of August.

Huobi’s current holdings data could mostly be found on Nansen and DefiLlama, said Huobi’s Xie on Tuesday. He further hinted that their Merkle Tree Audit as of August 1, capturing the stUSDT data will be unveiled later this week.

The most recent data from DefiLlama, dated August 11, demonstrated that Huobi held an impressive asset balance. The exchange kept about $400 million in stUSDT and a grand $273 million in USDT at that time.

huobi asset balance (1).webp
Source: DefiLlama

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Why did Huobi experience significant outflows of funds recently?

Huobi saw outflows of funds amidst rumors of insolvency and potential investigations by Chinese authorities. Speculations regarding the arrest of Huobi's leadership and alleged inconsistencies in its Tether holdings have further exacerbated the situation.

2. What makes the recent rumor about Huobi leadership's arrest significant?

If the rumors are proven, they could have serious repercussions for Huobi's operations and reputation. The potential involvement of authorities has led to instability and contributed to the outflows of funds, further fueling insolvency rumors.

3. How did the inflow from a 'Whale' into Huobi affect the exchange amidst these controversies?

Despite the ongoing outflows, a significant 'Whale' deposited $200 million USDT and 5,000 Ether worth $9.15 million into Huobi. This boosted the exchange's USDT and Ether holdings significantly, showcasing the unexpected and volatile nature of the crypto market.

4. What is Huobi's response to these allegations and the rumor about potential insolvency?

In response to the allegations and insolvency rumors, Huobi announced plans to list PayPal's stablecoin, PYUSD, and offer permanent zero trading fees for PYUSD/USDT pairs. This move seems designed to bolster user confidence and demonstrate continued growth amidst controversy.

5. What does Huobi's current situation imply for stakeholders in the crypto industry?

The Huobi saga serves as a reminder for the stakeholders, particularly investors, about the volatile nature of the crypto industry. It underscores the importance of adept navigation through complex operational and regulatory landscapes, underscoring the need for due diligence and remaining informed about developments related to crypto exchanges and platforms.

Final Thoughts

The recent controversies around Huobi highlight the unstable nature of the cryptocurrency industry. Significant fund outflows, rumors of insolvency, and unexpected transactions create a complex scenario for the exchange. 

It's vital for all in the crypto world to be aware and informed about the ever-changing operational and regulatory landscape, especially in the context of exchanges like Huobi, to successfully navigate the unpredictable crypto-waters.

This article has been refined and enhanced by ChatGPT.

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