Japanese messaging giant Line has revealed plans to shut down its digital asset exchange firm BITFRONT due to unsettling market conditions.
BITFRONT disclosed the development in a statement released on November 28, saying it intends to bring down the curtain on its operations in March 2023. The exchange blamed the decision on the prolonged “crypto winter” plaguing the digital asset industry since the second quarter of the year.
“BITFRONT was established to enable users to safely store and freely trade their digital assets. And, from the beginning, we have done our best to be a leader in the blockchain industry,” read the statement. “However, despite our efforts to overcome the challenges in this rapidly-evolving industry, we have regretfully determined that we need to shut down BITFRONT…”
The firm says closing down the exchange’s operations will give it ample time and resources to develop the LINE distributed ledger and its LINK token. The disclosure revealed that the winding-up process is unrelated to the widespread incidences of exchanges shutting down due to misconduct.
Beginning on November 28, new users will be precluded from signing up on the systems, while additional deposits and interest payments will be suspended on December 12. The firm notes that users have until December 30 to cancel open orders and trades, while withdrawals will be halted on Marember 31.
BITFRONT assures users that personal information obtained in the course of using the product will be deleted within 40 days after the suspension of withdrawals.
The exchange began operations in 2018, operating under the name Bitbox but a rebrand in 2020 saw it switch to BITFRONT. Although considered to be a small exchange, BITFRONT recorded an average transaction volume of around $55 million while supporting trading for only BTC, ETH, LTC and Tether (USDT).
The fall of digital asset exchanges
Digital asset exchanges have endured a torrid year inundated by shocking collapses that have reverberated throughout the ecosystem. Terra’s implosion was the first shot that reeled exchanges worldwide, with Celsius, Zipmex, and Vauld pausing withdrawals for users.
Gemini, Coinbase (NASDAQ: COIN), and Crypto.com were rocked by the collapse as they began laying off a sizable number of their staff.
Things reached a fervent pitch with the implosion of FTX, a leading exchange in the industry, leaving thousands of investors with dimming hopes of recovering their funds. The shocking collapse forced the hands of surviving exchanges to show proof of reserves in a bid to reassure users that their funds were safe with them.
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