Binance’s Market Dominance Challenged as OKX and Upbit Gain Ground

The 2023 CEX Market Report by 0xScope, published on November 6, 2023, provides a comprehensive overview of the changing landscapes within the centralized exchanges (CEXs) over the past year. It highlights the shifting dynamics and the rise of second-tier exchanges like OKX and Upbit challenging Binance’s previously uncontested dominance.

Binance’s grip on the market has loosened, with its trading volume and other indicators shrinking by approximately 10%. Despite holding more than half of the market’s share at 51.2%, there’s been a noticeable decrease from its 54.6% share in October 2022.

Spot trading competition has intensified, with Binance’s share dropping from 62% to 52.5% over the year. Upbit’s ascent in the market has been significant, leaping from a 5% to a 15.3% share, largely propelled by the vibrant South Korean market.

While Binance still leads in derivatives with a share of around 45%, down from 50.9%, it is facing rising competition. OKX, in particular, has marked its territory, climbing from a 10% to a 15% share in derivatives, signifying a broader shift in the CEX ecosystem.

An examination of on-chain data and asset values shows that established exchanges like Binance, Coinbase, and Bitfinex collectively hold over 80% of market exchange funds. However, a mere 5% decline in Binance’s asset value share indicates a redistribution of market trust towards competitors like OKX and Coinbase.

Binance and Coinbase collectively account for over 60% of the CEX market’s deposit addresses, but the monthly increase in new deposit addresses has been waning, showcasing a challenge in new customer acquisition.

Analyzing web and social media data, Binance has seen a dip in website traffic and Twitter follower share, despite a net increase in followers. In contrast, OKX has witnessed its Twitter followers nearly triple, suggesting an aggressive and successful growth in market visibility.

Notably, the report emphasizes the lack of a direct correlation between web presence and exchange performance. It also acknowledges potential discrepancies due to the opaqueness in exchanges’ on-chain addresses.

This report serves as a critical barometer for understanding CEX dynamics, highlighting that while Binance remains at the forefront, it is facing a significant challenge from emerging players reshaping the market share equation.

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60k BTC and 60k ETH on Justin Sun’s Tron Seem Unbacked

Crypto analyst ErgoBTC has raised serious questions about the backing of TRC20 BTC tokens on the Tron network in a series of tweets. The analyst suggests that 60,000 of these tokens, currently parked in the JustLend protocol, appear to have never been backed. This implies an unbacked (non-existent) Total Value Locked (TVL) of $1.8 billion, which is roughly 50% of the current TVL in the JustLend protocol.

ErgoBTC’s tweets were in response to another tweet by a user named “alto | dollar.eth” who claimed to have found the wallet that backs the 60k ETH on Tron, but its current balance is zero. This raises further questions about the backing of TRC20 tokens on the Tron network.

In a typical centralized peg scheme, the custodian advertises their reserve holdings for transparency and trust, as seen with wBTC. However, information on the custodian for the TRC-20 BTC backing is practically non-existent.

The analyst conducted a thorough investigation into the existence of the total 114k BTC on the BTC blockchain. The findings suggest that if these coins exist, they are not sitting in a dedicated address. Furthermore, a deeper dive into the 60k “mint” done on August 21, 2022, revealed no signs of this activity on the BTC blockchain.

The investigation extended to major exchanges such as Poloniex, Huobi, and Binance, but none showed signs of the 60k BTC transactions. The TronDAO, which is not explicitly used for backing TRC20 BTC, also showed no signs of related non-exchange addresses.

The analyst concludes that these findings are signs that the TRC20 BTC on Tron was at best temporarily and partially unbacked, and at worst, still partially backed (-60k of the reported 114k BTC). The biggest impact seems to be a completely fake JustLend TVL, approximately 50% of which is apparently unbacked.

The tweets also trace the path of the 60k BTC minted on August 21, 2022, which was sent to JustLend for a 600m USDC loan. Half of this loan was repaid within two hours of creation, funded by an address attributed to Justin Sun. The remaining loan was funneled through another wallet, which also received from J-Sun and deposited over $1 billion to Circle in late September and early October.

The blockchain story ends here, but ErgoBTC notes that Huobi changed hands on OCT 10, 2022, one week after the >1B USDC deposits to Circle . The analyst emphasizes that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but none of this would be necessary if the TRC20 BTC custodian was transparent.


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New Huo Tech Reports Explosive Revenue Growth Amidst Increased Losses

New Huo Tech, a Hong Kong-listed tech company, recently reported its mid-year financial performance for the period ending on March 31, 2023. The report reveals a complex financial picture with some noteworthy trends and developments.

Most striking is the company’s exceptional growth in revenue. Compared to the same period in 2022, revenue has surged by a staggering 612.3% from HKD 352 million to HKD 2.506 billion. This substantial growth underscores the effectiveness of New Huo Tech’s business model and its success in gaining a significant foothold in its market.

The virtual asset trading and lending segment appears to be the powerhouse of New Huo Tech’s operations, contributing a whopping HKD 2.386 billion, or 95.21% of total revenue. The prominence of this business segment may signal the increasing trend and acceptance of virtual assets in the market. It also indicates New Huo Tech’s competitive strength and strategic positioning in this high-potential industry.

However, the financial report also reveals a concerning aspect. Despite the robust growth in revenue, New Huo Tech’s losses have widened significantly. The net loss for the period was HKD 232 million, an increase from a loss of HKD 49 million in the corresponding period in 2022. This discrepancy suggests that despite its high revenues, the company’s cost structure may need recalibration, or it may be making substantial investments for future growth.

New Huo Tech’s strategic decisions have also been noteworthy. The company has withdrawn its license applications in Singapore and Hong Kong, attributing the move to a strategic shift in business focus and planning. While the specific reasons and implications are not entirely clear, it suggests a reevaluation of the company’s business strategies and priorities, possibly in response to evolving market dynamics or regulatory environments.

New Huo Tech, with its diverse operations in trading, lending, Over The Counter (OTC) services, and custodian services, has also recently clarified that it has no business or equity relationship with Huobi Hong Kong. 


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Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global is seeking a license in Hong Kong

The cryptocurrency exchange known as Huobi Global is now in the process of applying for a license in Hong Kong, which comes at a time when the Chinese special administrative region is mulling over potential licensing and regulatory changes that would enable it to work with retail clients.

The new regulatory framework, which stipulates that cryptocurrency exchanges must register with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong, would make it possible for the exchange to extend its service offerings to include the city. According to a thread that was started on Twitter by Justin Sun, Huobi intends to launch a new exchange in Hong Kong that will be called Huobi Hong Kong and would cater mostly to high-net-worth people and institutions.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) only just made the new Hong Kong licensing proposals available for public comment, and the new regulations are scheduled to take effect in June. As soon as suppliers of financial services heard about the impending adjustments, they began making preparations to participate in the upgraded system in December.

During an interview with Nikkei Asia, Sun said that Huobi may raise the number of employees working out of its Hong Kong office from 50 to 200 this year. He said that the move was prompted by Hong Kong’s favorable position on cryptocurrency as well as the prospect of retail sales.

In January, Huobi said that as part of the firm’s reorganization after Sun’s acquisition of the company in October, they would be laying off twenty percent of its workforce. The cryptocurrency exchange said in February that it would “strategic and product modifications” be the reason why its Huobi Cloud Wallet will be discontinued in May.

According to Nikkei Asia, Huobi is reportedly looking into the possibility of relocating its headquarters from Singapore to Hong Kong.

Huobi is also working to extend its service offerings in a number of other locations. It was revealed in January that the company is going to create a crypto-to-fiat debit card supported by Visa. Customers of Huobi who live in the European Economic Area will be able to use this card everywhere Visa is accepted. It is anticipated that you will be able to purchase that card around the second quarter of this year.


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Huobi to Discontinue Cloud Wallet Service in May 2023

Huobi, a cryptocurrency exchange, has said that it would end its Huobi Cloud Wallet platform five years from now, in May 2023, citing “strategic and product modifications.”

The maintenance and updates of the multitoken wallet service will formally come to an end on February 13, according to a notification that was posted on Huobi’s support website. Users who are still using the cloud wallet are being advised to move any cryptocurrencies and nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that they have to their primary Huobi accounts or to other wallet addresses.

The withdrawal and transfer functionalities of Huobi Cloud Wallet will continue to operate for the next three months; however, users are strongly encouraged to refrain from transferring digital assets to their cloud wallets during this time. The official date that Huobi Cloud Wallet will be decommissioned is May 13th, 2023.

After Huobi Group made an investment of $200 million, the Huobi Wallet name was changed to iToken five months later in May 2022. The Huobi Cloud Wallet was first introduced in October 2021 as a feature of the Huobi Wallet. It enables users to handle digital assets without the need of private keys and was initially rolled out as part of Huobi Wallet.

The provision of a service for custodial wallets was done with the intention of facilitating simpler access to apps and services related to decentralized finance (DeFi). Users of Huobi Cloud Wallet were able to store tokens without having to take responsibility for their own private keys thanks to a third-party management system that held users’ private keys in escrow.

Users of Huobi Global were promised a smooth synchronization with the cloud wallet service, as well as the ability to move tokens between the two platforms in order to access a variety of other DeFi projects.

Huobi also made headlines in January 2023 when it delisted 33 different tokens because they had broken various requirements to be listed on the exchange platform. This caused Huobi to be in the news. Following Justin Sun’s acquisition of the business, the stock exchange announced at the beginning of the year that it intended to implement a reorganization that would include the layoff of twenty percent of its workforce.


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Huobi And Solaris Offer EU Crypto-To-Fiat Debit Cards

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As the cryptocurrency market continues to expand into the mainstream, several legacy financial institutions have made it a priority to work toward closing the gap that exists between digital and traditional currencies. The [crypto] industry is steadily making its way into the mainstream markets.

An announcement on a partnership between the cryptocurrency exchange Huobi and the European provider of financial services Solaris has been made public. The partnership will result in the creation of a debit card that can convert cryptocurrencies into fiat currency.

Users of Huobi now have the ability to make use of their digital assets at points of sale anywhere in the globe as a result of a program that has been given permission to operate by Visa.

Beginning in the second quarter of 2023, users who are situated inside the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to have access to the card. The European Economic Area (EEA) is comprised of all 27 nations that are participants in the European Union (EU), in addition to Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

Citizens of countries that are members of the European Union have access to more than one crypto-to-fiat card at this time. In the year 2020, cryptocurrency exchange Binance launched its very own crypto-to-fiat card, which received Visa’s stamp of approval. European users now have the ability to withdraw fiat cash straight from their Binance accounts using this card. Outside of the European Union, Visa has been a strong advocate for bridging the gap between digital money and traditional currencies such as dollars and euros.

In October 2022, made public their partnership with Visa to produce a debit card that could be used to purchase cryptocurrencies. The usage of this card is strictly limited to inside the boundaries of the United States of America.

Most recently, the supplier of financial services and a company in the financial technology industry called ZELF worked together to offer customers a debit card that protects their anonymity and can be filled with cryptocurrencies.

A function that would allow customers to automatically pay bills from their bitcoin wallet is another feature that Visa has suggested it may roll out before the beginning of 2023.


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Multiple Crypto Exchanges Suffer from FTX’s Aftermath

The crash of bankruptcy from the crypto exchange FTX escalates to the crypto industry. Huobi-related subsidiary is the latest victim.



Citing “Failure to withdraw cryptocurrency assets from crypto exchange FTX”, Hong Kong-listed company New Huo Technology Limited (HKEX: 1611) announced inside information Monday that around $18.1 million worth of cryptocurrencies owned by its subsidiary Hbit Limited, are deposited in crypto exchange FTX, per the latest announcement published on Hong Kong Exchange.


Among 18.1 million capital, around $13.2 million is “client’s asset based on the client’s trading request and approximately USD4.9 million is asset of Hbit Limited”. The listed company warned that the crypto assets “may not be able to be withdrawn from FTX” due to the filing of bankruptcy protection declared by FTX on Nov 11, which is suffering from a liquidity crunch.


The board of the company emphasised will continue to provide compliant, professional and safe virtual assets financial service to clients:


“The Board is of the view that the Incident currently does not affect the normal business operations of the Group. As Hbit Limited is legally and operationally separated from other business entities of the Group, other assets and business lines of the Group will not be affected.”


The Board acknowledged its financial performance could be affected if “the incident is not solved.”


Meanwhile, another Hong Kong-based crypto exchange AAX is also suffering from the recent turmoil. AAX said Sunday that the exchange continues the suspension of withdrawals for seven to ten days due to “a scheduled system upgrade”, to protect users from the malicious attacks


Ben Caselin, AAX Vice President, tweeted on early morning Monday, acknowledge this is “bad timing for a scheduled maintenance at @AAXExcahnge,” adding that the exchange “aimed to address serious vulnerabilities, to be prolonged for more than 24 hours. Out of extra precaution this will take longer,” urging the public to allow AAX to open up gradually.


However, AAX emphasized that the exchange has no financial exposure to FTX or tis affiliates, and its digital assets remain intact with a significant amount stored in cold wallets, according to the statement.


FTX filed bankruptcy protection last Friday after its exchange experienced a critical liquidity crunch, as its native token FTT experienced a massive price plunge. FTX failed to conduct an acquisition by its major competitor Binance , citing… .


Reportedly FTX was accused of unauthorizedly using its client’s capital to foster its sister trading Alameda Research. In addition, FTX also suffered from a hacking incident last Friday, over $600 million was bleached from its crypto wallets. Founder and former CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has stepped down.



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Huobi Reveals its Holdings to be $3.5B in Hot and Cold Wallets

The tension that arose in the crypto space due to the fallout of the FTX exchange has brought about the need for crypto exchange platforms to become transparent as regards their financial position.


Huobi, a crypto exchange based in Seychelles has revealed its assets in a bid to foster transparency with its customers. The report revealed Huobi’s total assets to be estimated at $3.5 billion with Bitcoin having an estimated reserve of 37,000, Ethereum 274,000, Tether (USDT) 820,000,000, and Tron (TRX) 9.7 billion.

Huobi also made a pledge to continue the disclosure of its assets going forward. According to the platform, this will be an avenue to show its commitment to prioritizing the interest of its customers and the protection of its assets.

The report also revealed that Huobi performed an audit known as the Merkle Tree Proof of Reserves when About Capital took over as the major shareholder in October in order to satisfy due diligence procedures. Huobi added that there are already plans in place to repeat the audit process using a third party within 30 days of this writing.

Huobi Group Expands Despite Challenges in the Crypto Ecosystem

Huobi announced in October that it is ready to sell the majority of its shares to About Capital, an investment company based in Hong Kong. About Capital will not have dealings with Huobi’s business operations and management according to the announcement.

The announcement was made shortly after speculations that Huobi’s founder, Leon Li was rumored to be looking for a buyer for his almost 60% interest in Huobi and was demanding at least $1 billion at the time.

Huobi has recently announced that it would be setting up its headquarters in the Caribbean as it plans to position itself globally. 

Justin Sun who was previously rumored to have bought Huobi, but was later appointed as a special adviser on Huobi’s board stated that he had a meeting with Dominica’s prime minister Roosevelt Skerrit. He believes the Caribbean is a crypto-friendly community and Huobi will also help to develop their crypto framework.

The transparency moves are all in a bid to wade off any threat to its global growth

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Huobi To Be Acquired by Hong Kong-Based VC Firm About Capital

Huobi Global announced on Friday that it has agreed to be bought by Hong Kong-based investment company About Capital Management’s M&A fund.

Leon Li Lin, the Chinese founder of Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange Huobi Global, is selling his majority stake to the Hong Kong investment firm according to Huobi’s announcement.

As per the report, both parties have reached an agreement, which will have “no impact on Huobi’s core operation and business management teams.” However, the parties did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Under new ownership, Houbi is planning to embrace international business expansion initiatives, including the injection of sufficient capital into the margin and risk provision funds, a global strategic advisory board led by prominent industry figures, as well as efforts to enhance business competitiveness.

In a statement, Li, who founded Huobi in China in 2013, said:

“Following Huobi’s exit from the Chinese mainland market in 2021, we have accelerated our globalization push amidst a challenging market environment. We believe the successful acquisition by About Capital vehicle will contribute to Huobi’s global expansion.”

The deal comes after months of reports and rumors that founder Leon Li was looking for a buyer for his nearly 60% stake in Huobi, and was asking for at least $1 billion.

In August, rumors emerged that FTX founder and CEO Sam Bankman-Fried would buy the exchange. But later, Bankman-Fried clarified on Twitter that FTX was not planning to acquire the company.

The Seychelles-based Huobi was China’s largest crypto exchange before the nation banned cryptocurrencies last year. Despite suffering a significant blow to its revenues following the ban, the exchange has remained one of the major platforms in the industry.

According to sources, a major reason behind Leon’s exit from the firm is due to his reluctance to leave China and his unsustainable business in 2022.

Due to the recent plunge in the crypto market, several exchange platforms immediately cut down expenses to survive the winter. Huobi is one of the exchanges that witnessed difficulties. In June, many crypto firms laid off up to 25% of their staff, and several filed for bankruptcy protection.

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S. Korean Regulators Oppose Busan’s Regulatory Measures for Attracting Foreign Crypto Exchanges

South Korean financial authorities expressed their opposite stance against Busan City to provide special regulatory support for partners to establish digital asset exchanges, local media outlet Money Today reported Thursday.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) under the Financial Services Commission of South Korea said judicial risks, investor risks and money laundering risks exist in cooperation with foreign cryptocurrency exchanges that will cause reverse discrimination against local cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

 “If Busan City unreasonably rushes to establish a digital asset exchange, it may be criticized for saying that the referee (government) acts as the player (operator) before the disciplinary system advises.

On Aug. 26, the South Korean city of Busan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, which will help the local government to establish its own exchange or the Busan digital asset exchange.

Busan city government also signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FTX on August 30 and Huobi Global on September 14, agreeing to cooperate in establishing digital asset exchange. The city of Busan has pledged to provide administrative support for these overseas exchanges to enter South Korea.

However, South Korean financial authorities warned that Chinese coin exchanges such as Binance or Huobi Global are currently under investigation by foreign regulators, such as U.S. regulators the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is currently investigating whether Binance violated securities laws.

The financial regulators pointed out that South Korea will be criticized for cooperation projects with such “flawed companies”. 

All three exchanges named are headquartered in the famous tax havens of Malta and the Bahamas; if these exchanges first operate in South Korea or establish a joint exchange with Busan City, there will be a high risk of money laundering.

The administration is concerned there may have a possibility that Chinese coin exchanges would invade the business field of South Korean exchanges if securities token trading through South Korean exchanges is allowed.

South Korean crypto exchange Coredax also objected to the local city government decision, saying it would hinder the development of crypto assets in the country and deepen foreign dependence.

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Bitcoin (BTC) $ 38,317.27 1.69%
Ethereum (ETH) $ 2,096.58 3.46%
Litecoin (LTC) $ 70.39 1.41%
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) $ 223.86 0.94%