Leading crypto-exchange OKex has suspended all digital assets and cryptocurrency withdrawals indefinitely until further notice. The issue in question is that one of the exchange’s private key holders is “currently cooperating with a public security bureau in investigations where required.”
The public security bureau being referred to here is the Chinese police that has launched an investigation into OKex.
According to reports, OKex has been out of touch with the concerned private key holder and as such could not complete the associated authorization.
The exchange assured users that all other functions remained normal and stable and the security of assets on OKex would not be affected by this suspension.
Following the announcement, the price of Bitcoin on OKex dropped 3% to $11,208 before recovering slightly to $11,323 at the time of writing.
OKex announced that they would make an official public announcement disclosing more details on the matter shortly. CEO of OKEx, Jay Hao also took to twitter to assure users that funds and assets were safe.
All operations @OKEx except digital asset/cryptocurrency withdrawals remain unaffected.
All your funds and assets are safe.
The investigation concerns a certain private key holder’s personal issue only. Further announcements will be made.
— Jay_OKEX_CEO (@JayHao8) October 16, 2020
Members of crypto twitter have also speculated on the issue citing rumors of over 800 accounts that are involved in cross border money laundering potentially linked to the current scenario. Alistair Milne, noted,
Rumours about ~800 accounts involved in cross-border money laundering
— Alistair Milne (@alistairmilne) October 16, 2020
Questions were also raised as to why the exchange would suspend withdrawals if one private key holder was facing issues, leading many to the conclusion that OKex has a single point of contact in charge of the private keys.
In a further twist, after Jay Hao publicly called out CZ of Binance on Twitter a few weeks ago, condemning his support of ‘risky DeFi projects’ and stating that the Binance Smart Chain is highly centralized, CZ took to twitter to issue the following statement, and stated that,
“We do not have any single point of failure in our wallet systems or personnel structure.”
Personnel wise, we have full redundancy structure that if anyone becomes unreachable, our funds are not stuck.
Even from the early days, we especially made sure funds are not "dependent on CZ", as I do travel extensively and are often in airplanes, etc.
— CZ Binance (@cz_binance) October 16, 2020