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Are HitBTC freezing customers’ accounts ahead of the Proof of Keys event?

Ahead of the annual Proof of Keys event, people are raising concerns that Bitcoin exchange HitBTC are freezing customers' accounts to stop them from withdrawing their funds

The annual Proof of Keys event will be held tomorrow (January 3rd, 2019). The event, which sees people withdraw and take possession of all Bitcoins held by third parties, is designed to test the trust they place in exchanges and providers.

The Proof of Keys website notes, “Every year, HODlers celebrate with a test of trust. HODlers test people, exchanges, corporations, and other services. Get withdrawal limits ready.”

However, with the event looming, customers are reportedly claiming that popular Bitcoin exchange HitBTC are freezing their accounts before the event begins. HitBTC was founded in late 2013 and is a leading European Bitcoin exchange.

Reddit user u/pedxs posted stating, “Six months ago, my account got suspended. After months of sending 40 plus emails, HITBTC finally unfroze my account. I immediately withdrew most of my funds but left a small amount to day trade.”

The author of the post then went on to detail how he had been assured by HitBTC that “no further automated restrictions will be applied” to his account, and so he built his balance back up through trading.

u/pedxs continues to reveal, “With the proof of key date approaching, I felt that HITBTC is the prime suspect for being insolvent, so I tried withdrawing my BTC. Guess what, they blocked the withdrawal and froze my account again.”

Another Reddit user, u/f3d30x, commented saying, “Very frustrating. Fortunately I withdrew all my funds a month ago and I’ll never use HITBTC again. They are doing this with a lot of customers.” Another user, u/hydtech, noted, “The main reason to avoid hitbtc is for their fake trading volume and insane withdrawal fees.”

u/pedxs is not the only Redditor to have voiced his concerns about HitBTC in a post. u/LOOKATMYIQ also made a complaint against the company, saying, “Submitted all my documents/evidence for KYC days ago and now support [is] going cold on me. Have I been scammed?”

This isn’t the first time HitBTC have been under scrutiny. Four years ago, Reddit user u/zeroconfirms wrote a post claiming that “HITBTC’s volume is very suspicious.”

If HitBTC are freezing their customers’ accounts ahead the Proof of Keys event, it will reflect extremely badly on them. This is because the event is centred on testing the trust of third-party platforms. If HitBTC are refusing to allow customers to withdraw their funds for the event, it will likely result in customers no longer trusting them.

John McAfee has also been vocal about HitBTC for their high minimum buy-in this year as well, stating, “Hitbtc, for example, has increased suffering for millions of poor people who cannot afford the minimum buy-in since it is greater than their monthly income. Boycott them.”

It remains to be seen whether HitBTC are freezing their customers’ accounts on purpose or if they are isolated incidents, but people have certainly been raising concerns.

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