Report: Bitfinex Shifts Its Banking Business to Hong Kong-Based Bank of Communications

Crypto exchange Bitfinex has reportedly moved its banking business to Hong Kong through a private account at Bank of Communications.

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex has reportedly shifted its banking business to the Hong Kong-based Bank of Communications, the Block reported Oct. 16.

A source familiar with the matter reportedly said that Bitfinex appears to be banking with the Bank of Communications through the private account “Prosperity Revenue Merchandising Limited.” According to the Block, Bank of Communications — which is partly owned by HSBC — has been using U.S.-based Citibank as the intermediary bank for U.S. dollar wire transfers to Bitfinex.

The Block speculates that HSBC — with whom Bitfinex previously conducted its banking business — was unaware it was providing services for Bitfinex, and subsequently closed the previous account.

A similar incident occurred in 2017, when Wells Fargo allegedly refused to continue operating as a correspondent bank for Bitfinex. The exchange subsequently filed a lawsuit against the bank, which was eventually dropped.

As reported on Oct. 8, Bitfinex was at the center of rumors claiming the exchange was insolvent and/or facing banking issues. The rumors were caused by last week’s reports that the exchange’s banking partner, Puerto Rico’s Noble Bank International, is seeking a buyer and had lost Bitfinex as a client. Bitfinex subsequently denied those rumors.

Today’s report follows news that Bitfinex temporarily suspended all fiat wire deposits for the euro, U.S. dollar, Japanese yen and U.K. pound sterling on Oct. 11, without specifying the reason. The exchange further stated that deposits are “expected to resume within a week.”

Earlier today, Bitfinex announced the introduction of a “new, improved and increasingly resilient” fiat deposit system. The new deposit process will reportedly enable know-your-customer (KYC)-compliant customers “from around the world” to conduct deposits in the four previously suspended fiat currencies.

Deposit requests will be reviewed within 48 hours, while the deposit itself, as Bitfinex states, will be processed “within 6-10 business days.”

Founded in 2012 in Hong Kong, Bitfinex is currently the 4th largest crypto exchange globally in terms of trade volume, with $321 million in trades over the last 24 hours at press time. Bitfinex introduced fiat operations in 2015 to enable traders to “enter the digital asset space.”

At press time, Bitfinex could not be reached for comment regarding the reported banking developments.

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Hong Kong Jewelry Retailer to Use Blockchain Platform for Tracking Diamonds

Hong Kong-based diamond retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group has put some of its gems on a blockchain platform to track their origin and authenticity.

Hong Kong-based jewelry retailer Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group will start to use a blockchain platform to track diamonds, the South China Morning Post reported September 12.

Chow Tai Fook has reportedly put some of its diamonds on a blockchain platform developed by blockchain startup Everledger and secured by the IBM Blockchain Platform. This will reportedly enable the retailer’s customers to ascertain the origin and authenticity of stones sold in its T Mark-branded stores, using a T Mark app.

The T Mark was an initiative started by the company in August of last year, which assigns a series of serial numbers to certain stones so that their provenance and transaction history can be more easily authenticated.

Currently, the company has reportedly rolled out the initiative for 3,000 T Mark diamonds in four of its stores, and plans to extend it up to 10,000 stones in 10 stores. Kent Wong, the retailer’s group managing director, outlined the importance of customer awareness to the entire cycle of diamonds:

“Not only does this initiative make it easier for consumers to manage their assets conveniently and efficiently, it is a long-term and invaluable investment that enriches consumers’ knowledge of their diamonds.”

Chow Tai Fook follows the practice of other world leaders in the jewelry industry who have employed blockchain technology to track their products. Global diamond giant De Beers announced in May that it tracked 100 high-value diamonds from the mine to the retailer using its blockchain-powered platform Tracr.

The effort, which De Beers claimed was an industry first, was reportedly undertaken to enhance consumer confidence and public trust that the diamonds were non-conflict, in addition to increasing efficiency in the supply chain.

In April, major gold and diamond industry manufacturers and suppliers partnered with IBM to develop a blockchain network for tracing the origin of finished pieces of jewelry. The TrustChain initiative was designed to track and authenticate diamonds and precious metals from their place of origin to their retail location.

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Bitcoin Mining Manufacturer Canaan Confirms IPO Filing, Backed by Major Banks

Canaan Creative is pushing ahead with its IPO, which could raise $1bln, reports announced this week.

Chinese Bitcoin mining hardware manufacturer Canaan Creative plans to start trading of its IPO as soon as July, Bloomberg reports May 16.

Canaan, which confirmed rumors it was planning an IPO with a filing this week, will likely create the largest Bitcoin-focused offering yet seen when it debuts on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg added that while the filing did not mention a specific fundraising target, the figure “could” circle $1bln – a figure which had previously appeared earlier this month.

The move would create further competition for mining stalwart Bitmain, with Canaan currently already controlling around 15% of the Bitcoin chips and hardware equipment market.

In an interview with Reuters last month, meanwhile, co-chairman Jianping Kong said the numbers were equal to “a quarter of the world’s bitcoin blockchain computing power.”

Major IPO backers appearing on the filing are Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank AG, Credit Suisse Group AG and CMB International Capital Ltd.

Canaan has yet to issue a public statement about the move, declining comment after a request from Reuters Tuesday.

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