JPEX in disarray after Hong Kong’s regulators initiate probe

  • On 13 September, Hong Kong’s regulator warned JPEX was operating without regulatory approval
  • Local police have received at least 83 complaints involving $4.3 million

Since Hong Kong’s regulator issued a warning last week about JPEX operating without approval, the exchange has fallen into a state of disarray. After the arrest of an influencer associated with JPEX, the exchange has halted trading on its Earn Trading interface affective 18 September. Users can continue any existing trades until they finish that they have entered into. However, they cannot make new trading transactions.

Previously, it significantly raised the withdrawal fees on the platform.

At the time, JPEX claimed that it is taking the action due to a liquidity shortage caused by third-party market makers. The firm accused these market makers of acting maliciously, post the regulatory warning. The exchange said it is negotiating with the market makers so that it can resolve the liquidity issue and bring down the withdrawal fees to normal levels.

JPEX also disclosed its plan to restructure itself as a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO). This way, it aims to seek and implement user input through voting.

Soon after, on 15 September, a Taiwanese media platform reported that the exchange’s Taipei office was vacated. The same day, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) warned the public to be wary of crypto-businesses marketing themselves as “banks.” Worth noting, however, that it didn’t specify any such platform.

On 16 September, South China Morning Post reported that the Hong Kong police had received at least 83 complaints regarding JPEX worth at least $4.3 million. Two days later, a local media platform reported that local police arrested a social media influencer associated with JPEX. The police also raided his office premises.

That’s not all either as JPEX abandoned its booth at the Token 2049 conference in Singapore.

The crypto-exchange established a presence in Hong Kong more than two years ago.

On 13 September, the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) issued a warning about JPEX. The SFC is the securities regulator of Hong Kong. It cautioned investors the crypto-exchange was operating without regulatory approval. The exchange had not applied to run a regulated virtual asset trading platform (VATP).

The exchange was quick to issue a rebuttal when it questioned the SFC’s commitment to a crypto-friendly environment in Hong Kong. Furthermore, it expressed concerns over suppressing development of cryptocurrencies in the region.

However, even JPEX’s website is not accessible as of now.

Contrary to mainland China’s adverse crypto-policies, Hong Kong has been vying to become the global crypto hub. It is therefore critical for us to observe how the authorities in Hong Kong deal with the JPEX controversy.

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