Business 15 August 2018

Dan Taylor

Journalist discovers empty KuCoin offices in HK, warns of possible exit scam

Fresh doubt has been cast on the business practices of cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin, after a journalist in Hong Kong found the firm’s offices were empty.

Writing a post on Medium titled, “WARNING: KuCoin’s Hong Kong office is empty. Be extremely cautious about depositing money into this exchange,” journalist Jackson Wong said he suspected the firm was involved in a so-called ‘exit scam,’ which could see them running off with deposited user funds.

In his report, Wong discussed concerns he had raised previously about the company, which he said was likely to become insolvent in the next round of government crackdowns on cryptocurrency businesses in China.

Wong also cast doubt on the firm’s claims to have been founded in Hong Kong, suggesting he had never heard of the firm, and the Securities and Futures Commission had not licensed the firm to operate in Hong Kong. This, combined with the fact that none of the directors had Hong Kong names or addresses, added further weight to Wong’s suspicions.

In an attempt to firm up the anecdotal evidence against the exchange, Wong decided to pay a visit to their Hong Kong headquarters, only to find the offices empty. To make matters worse, other tenants of the office block claimed never to have heard of KuCoin, despite the exchange claiming this was the base for its international headquarters.

Warning off potential investors from dealing with the firm, Wong’s report concluded that it was most likely being run from mainland China, and advised prospective investors to steer clear of the ‘shady’ company.

“I suspect they are either working back in Sichuan of China, as the previous post have mentioned, or they are working somewhere remotely at home in Hong Kong? But that can’t be right, right? It’s a huge exchange and they are only working at home…Well, let’s take a step back. Maybe they have an office elsewhere in Hong Kong? But honestly, I don’t believe that can be the case, as we know that they don’t have Hong Kong ID cards or passports. They can’t just enter Hong Kong as they wish…Chinese nationals can’t just come in and out without a permit,” the journalist wrote.

He added, “They are just too shady. They told us that they have an office in Hong Kong. But that’s all a lie. No one’s even there! It’s completely empty. And most importantly, they don’t even have a Hong Kong license to deal in cryptocurrencies.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins.

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