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Jan 3 Proof of Key Bitcoin Event Draws Focus on Hitbtc

Bitcoin finished its worst performing record ever in terms of price in 2018. The year ended with Bitcoin price value dropping by more than 80% to reflect across the entire crypto market with a total loss of almost $700bln in its capitalization. Several factors have been identified for the gradual decline. They include the lack of use cases for both blockchain technology and crypto-related projects, insufficient education and the uncertainty surrounding the market’s regulatory environment.

Within the ecosystem, however, a major contributing factor that was recently identified is the supposed nefarious acts of some cryptocurrency exchanges. The Blockchain Transparency Institute (BTI) says it found that exchanges stole about $100 mln in 2018 through listing fees on wash trading. The group which comprises of blockchain researchers also note that over 80% of the volume displayed by the top 25 Coinmarketcap BTC pairs by exchanges is fake.

As a result of the observed irregularities by exchanges, a campaign for the Proof of Key Day was launched. Spearheaded by a podcast host, Trace Mayer, the organisers called for crypto users to remove their assets from exchanges to which they do not have access to their private keys on or before Jan. 3 – the tenth year anniversary of Bitcoin’s genesis block. They accused the exchanges of, among other things, wash trading and high listing fees.

Hitbtc at forefront
Though BTI, in its previous posts, has noted that Hitbtc, OKEx and Huobi were reportedly engaged in untoward activities, the discussion among many community members seems to focus more on Hitbtc. It could be for its international presence as a Hong Kong-based platform with an office in Chile or its listing of more assets. BTI says it received ‘tons of issues with Hitbtc’ prompting further look into the exchange’s activities. Others who share the view of Hitbtc’s performance claim that the exchange is now – as the Jan. 3 Proof of Key event is here – blocking users from withdrawing their funds. Mayer and security expert, John McAfee, are some of the industry players that have been critical in their call for the boycott of the exchange.

Many crypto traders have often complained about the way exchanges change their withdrawal fees in the past. At some point, others suggest that the exchanges necessitate the need for third-party regulatory bodies to be involved in the cryptocurrency space especially to monitor and penalize them for any wrongdoing. The Proof of Key movement seeks to improve the sector. It wants users to keep their private keys in own custody and never to put them on exchanges unless it is absolutely necessary.

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