Huobi, headquartered in Singapore, is the cryptocurrency conglomerate that operates Huobi US, Huobi Australia and Huobi Global, the world’s 15th-largest cryptocurrency trading platform by trade volume, according to CryptoCompare, an online data aggregator and reporting service.
Huobi was one of the three early Chinese exchanges that at one time together accounted for 90 percent or more of global bitcoin volume. As the legal conditions for trading bitcoin in China became less amenable, Huobi launched a new brand called “Huobi Pro” from its new headquarters in Singapore. On May 21, 2018, Huobi Pro was rolled out to the European and Asian markets. In July 2018 Huobi announced that it would accept customers from the U.S. on its “strategic partner” platform owned by a subsidiary, HBUS.
Huobi was branding all of its trading platforms as “Huobi Global” and said that it offered services to customers in 130 countries by December 2018.
On September 5, 2019, a massive transaction moved 94,505 bitcoin into an unknown user’s wallet. Analysts said that many previous transactions came from users on Huobi’s exchange.
In the first transaction granting full ownership of a regulated cryptocurrency exchange to a non-Japanese person, Singaporean entrepreneur and investor Eric Cheng announced on May 30, 2018, that his Upper Joy Limited had purchased 100 percent of the shares of BitTrade Co., Ltd., one of 16 cryptocurrency exchanges licensed by the Japanese Financial Services Agency. The deal worth about $50 million included BitTrade’s affiliate, FX Trade Financial Co., Ltd. On September 12, 2018, Huobi announced that its subsidiary, Huobi Japan Holding Ltd, had acquired 60% of BitTrade with an eye toward expansion into Japan. BitTrade told its customers in early December 2018 that it shortly would re-launch its trading under the Huobi name.
Products and services
Huobi offers a number of different markets, including an OTC market priced in Chinese yuan, cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency trading and margin trading. Huobi’s most actively traded pairs on its spot markets are bitcoin or another cryptocurrency against U.S. dollar Tether, according to CoinMarketCap, an online data reporting service.
Huobi Cloud will rely on Huobi’s existing digital asset exchange platforms to provide its partners tools for setting up their own OTC and currency exchange platforms.
Huobi announced the launch of its derivatives market, Huobi DM, at a developers conference in New York on November 28, 2018. The contracts were to have weekly, monthly and quarterly settlements and will offer varying degrees of leverage.
Listing ten cryptocurrencies pairs, Huobi Australia launched trading on July 5, 2018. On February 24, 2019, the company announced via Twitter that it had suspended operations in Australia and was consolidating its Australian business within Huobi Global. In its Facebook post Huobi Australia cited poor market conditions as the reason.
On November 2, 2018, Huobi introduced “HUSD,” which was a portmanteau for four stablecoins supported by Huobi: Paxos (PAX), TrueUSD (TUSD), USDCoin (USDC), and Gemini Dollars (GUSD). The HUSD was to be tradable against Tether (USDT) on Huobi Global. Deposits of any of the four stablecoins were reported as HUSD.
In July 2019, Huobi announced that it was changing the HUSD by replacing it with an ERC-20 token. The new token will be called HUSD but will be issued by Stable Universal Limited, a partially owned subsidiary of Huobi. The new token will be deposited with Paxos Trust Company, which is licensed by the New York Department of Financial Services.
Rumors of blockchain smartphones
In September 2019, The Block, Finance Magnates, and other news outlets published stories about a white paper published by China’s state-owned telecommunications company China Telecom about blockchain smartphones, which said that China Telecom was looking to turn 5G smartphones into individual digital asset management platforms that can be integrated with the Ethereum blockchain. The stories also said that Huobi issued a statement saying that its venture capital arm, Huobi Capital, would be partially funding a blockchain project called Whole Network in which blockchain smartphones would be manufactured. According to the news articles, these smartphones will be purchasable using the Huobi Token, HUSD, which can be awarded to users by watching ads, downloading certain apps, inviting new users, and sharing and distributing content. These smartphones will reportedly have their own app store full of dApps, all of which will be purchasable using HUSD. Huobi’s CEO Livio Weng told The Block that this push for blockchain smartphones may be tied to the increased use of mobile devices for cryptocurrency trading. The Block also wrote that these smartphones would become available for purchase in China on September 11, 2019. Shortly after news broke of this, Huobi Global made an incredulous post on Twitter, saying, “um…so apparently we launched a smartphone?” with screenshots of several of the articles that circulated the story, implying that the stories were not true.
- Chris Lee