Hong Kong Crypto Exchange Bitspark Shuts Down Amid Coronavirus Outbreak and Protests
Crypto exchange service provider Bitspark is shutting down next month despite reporting exponential growth following the launch of its cash point product. The CEO of the company explained that its internal restructuring has not worked out but insisted that the ongoing protests in Hong Kong and coronavirus outbreak have not affected his platform much.
Bitspark Closing Shop After 5 Years
Hong Kong-based crypto exchange and remittance service provider Bitspark announced on Tuesday that it is shutting down on March 4. CEO George Harrap explained:
This decision was not taken lightly, particularly due to the excellent performance we have seen since the release of our Cash Point product late last year which has seen 400% MoM growth.
There will be limited services between now and the end of March 4. The CEO added that customers can contact the company directly and request a withdrawal “if their Bitspark account or DEX wallet (with sparkdex assets) still has a balance.” He clarified, “Liquidity will remain on the Bitspark markets until 4 March and the final ZEPH buyback will be an order on the order books as of today.” After March 4, account logins will be disabled for a period of 90 days.
Company Says Business Was Going Well
Prior to this shutdown announcement, Bitspark had been working on launching several projects. On Dec. 27, the company highlighted in a year-in-review post that it had 144 trading pairs in 12 currencies and had issued stablecoins in HKD and PHP. In addition, it claimed to have had a steady stream of inbound customers from over 30 countries. “Next year, as we integrate with ERC20, Bitspark will be the primary provider of cash-to-crypto services for everything related to the Ethereum network, including hard wallets like Trezor and the global DeFi movement,” Bitspark wrote.
Harrap noted that his company was “the first company to ever do end to end remittances via bitcoin in 2014,” adding that it was also “the first exchange in Asia with 20+ tokens (2014), the first [with] stablecoins for exotic currencies, first exchange in Asia with insurance coverage (Bitgo) and the only cash-based fiat on/off ramp in crypto.”Bitspark CEO George Harrap
Founded in Hong Kong in 2014, the company operates a web-based platform for sending and receiving payments using cryptocurrency. “We were the first in the world to send a cash-in, cash-out bitcoin transfer between Hong Kong and the Philippines – it was the first use case the industry saw of crypto being used for utility above all else,” its website details.
Coronavirus and Protests Not to Blame
In his Tuesday announcement, the CEO divulged the reason for shutting down. He wrote, “Unfortunately due to internal restructuring that hasn’t worked out, and a decision taken by shareholders internally, we have made the decision to close our doors.” He elaborated:
While the HK protests and now virus epidemic haven’t affected us much, it hasn’t helped either.
Businesses in Hong Kong have been suffering from a number of factors, weighing down on the region’s economy. Not only are there ongoing protests, but there is now also the coronavirus scare that has driven many investors out of the area. The number of coronavirus cases has grown to 24,536 worldwide, with 492 deaths reported as of Wednesday.
Last week, the South China Morning Post reported that banks in Hong Kong are closing up to 30% of branches as a public safety measure. For example, Bank of China will close 49 branches, Bank of East Asia 20, HSBC 20 premier and four business centers, and Hang Seng 18 branches and 10 MTR outlets. Flights to Hong Kong are also being suspended. American Airlines and United Airlines, for example, announced on Tuesday that they are suspending flights from the U.S. to Hong Kong until Feb. 20 due to a drop in demand as the coronavirus spreads.
Do you think Hong Kong crypto businesses are much affected by the coronavirus outbreak and ongoing protests? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Bitspark.
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