• Hotbit shared the news on Twitter
  • The platform published an article explaining the move
  • It also released a post about the treatment of users' assets

Hotbit, a cryptocurrency exchange platform founded in Estonia, broke the news Wednesday that it is suspending its web services, including "trading, deposit, withdrawal and funding functions," due to an ongoing investigation that involves its former employee. The exact time of the resumption of its services remains unknown.

The announcement was made on Twitter Wednesday with the project's official account advising customers not to worry and assuring them that their assets on the platform are safe. The tweet itself didn't say much about the suspension, but it contained a link to an article explaining the main reason behind the decision.

"A former Hotbit management employee who left in April this year was, unbeknownst to Hotbit, involved in a project in 2021 that law enforcement authorities now think is suspected of violating criminal laws. As a result, a number of Hotbit senior managers have been subpoenaed by law enforcement since the end of July and are assisting in the investigation. Furthermore, law enforcement has frozen some funds of Hotbit, which has prevented Hotbit from running normally," Hotbit noted in the article.

The underlying message is that self-custody of crypto is far too risky, in contrast to the security of traditional bank or brokerage accounts and crypto institutions.  Pixabay

The platform also clarified that the rest of its employees have no involvement in the said project and have no knowledge of the illegal information involved. "Hotbit and the rest of Hotbit's management are not involved in the project and have no knowledge of the illegal information involved in the project. However, we are still actively cooperating with the law enforcement authorities in their investigations and are continuously communicating with them through our lawyers and applying for the release of the frozen assets. The assets of all users are safe on Hotbit," the crypto exchange platform explained.

"Hotbit will resume normal service as soon as the assets are unfrozen. All user's assets and data on Hotbit are secure and correct," it continued.

While there is no timeline for the resumption of its services yet, the platform assured everyone that it is "working hard to continue to cooperate and follow up on the progress of the investigation by law enforcement authorities," adding that it will "announce the results of the investigation; as soon as they are available."

The firm also released an article containing details about the treatment of users' assets during the suspension, which includes the cancellation of unfilled open orders to "prevent loss due to market fluctuations." Hotbit also shared that "all user's leveraged ETF positions will be forcibly liquidated according to the relevant net values by 12:00 p.m. UTC on August 10" to "prevent the loss caused by holding the positions."

As for the income from users' investment products, customers have been assured that Hotbit will distribute it "normally," with users' compensation plans scheduled to be published as soon as the website services resume.

However, Hotbit seemingly made light of the situation by adding a GIF of a crying Anya Forger (from "Spy x Family) to its announcement tweet.

Regardless of the platform's efforts to reassure its users that their assets are safe, it can't be denied that the suspension of its services due to a former employee's alleged violation of criminal laws is not, in any way, reassuring. And considering the fact that the timeline for the resumption of its services remains unknown and that users now live in a world where many crypto firms fold and rug pull, using that particular GIF is like adding "LOL" at the bottom of a serious text.

Established in early January 2018, Hotbit claims to be the leading cryptocurrency exchange platform with licenses from regulators in various countries. The current suspension of services is not a first for the firm since it did the same in April last year due to a "serious hack" on its platform.