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HBTC

latest release: 4.0.1 ( 30th April 2021 ) last analysed  5th December 2021 Custodial: The provider holds the keys Not functioning anymore
4.3 ★★★★★
250 ratings
10 thousand
12th December 2018

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Please help us spread the word discussing the risks of centralized custodians with HBTC  via their Twitter!

Do your own research!

Try out searching for "lost bitcoins", "stole my money" or "scammers" together with the wallet's name, even if you think the wallet is generally trustworthy. For all the bigger wallets you will find accusations. Make sure you understand why they were made and if you are comfortable with the provider's reaction.

If you find something we should include, you can create an issue or edit this analysis yourself and create a merge request for your changes.

The Analysis 

Update 2021-11-26: This app is not available anymore.

App Description

From the screenshots in Google play, it seems to be a centralized cryptocurrency exchange.

HBTC Exchange is a 100% token holders owned trading platform that is jointly invested by Huobi, OKEx and 56 other world-class institutions.

It is developed by BHEX, which has another app under its developer page, also named BHEX Development

The Site

Although the content is in English and available internationally, the Chinese language is found all over the site.

HBTC.com is known as the exchange where Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak token was launched.

Its support documents refer to depositing and withdrawing cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin.

It refers to a wallet as having “decentralized cross-chain custody”, but leads to a different website. It may be the other app.

The App

We downloaded the app on Blue Stacks and tried to register but failed. The message reads

The feature has been suspended.

It is likely that this has something to do with the People’s Republic of China crackdown on crypto, since we tried signing-up on both the website and on the app. Both attempts yielded the same error.

Verdict

As this is a centralized cryptocurrency exchange. It is highly probable that it is a custodial service and thus not verifiable

(dg)

Verdict Explained

As the provider of this product holds the keys, verifiability of the product is not relevant to the security of the funds!

As part of our Methodology, we ask:

Is the product self-custodial? If not, we tag it Custodial!

A custodial service is a service where the funds are held by a third party like the provider. The custodial service can at any point steal all the funds of all the users at their discretion. Our investigations stop there.

Some services might claim their setup is super secure, that they don’t actually have access to the funds, or that the access is shared between multiple parties. For our evaluation of it being a wallet, these details are irrelevant. They might be a trustworthy Bitcoin bank and they might be a better fit for certain users than being your own bank but our investigation still stops there as we are only interested in wallets.

Products that claim to be non-custodial but feature custodial accounts without very clearly marking those as custodial are also considered “custodial” as a whole to avoid misguiding users that follow our assessment.

This verdict means that the provider might or might not publish source code and maybe it is even possible to reproduce the build from the source code but as it is custodial, the provider already has control over the funds, so it is not a wallet where you would be in exclusive control of your funds.

We have to acknowledge that a huge majority of Bitcoiners are currently using custodial Bitcoin banks. If you do, please:

  • Do your own research if the provider is trust-worthy!
  • Check if you know at least enough about them so you can sue them when you have to!
  • Check if the provider is under a jurisdiction that will allow them to release your funds when you need them?
  • Check if the provider is taking security measures proportional to the amount of funds secured? If they have a million users and don’t use cold storage, that hot wallet is a million times more valuable for hackers to attack. A million times more effort will be taken by hackers to infiltrate their security systems.

But we also ask:

Is the product still supported by the still existing provider? If not, we tag it Defunct!

Discontinued products or worse, products of providers that are not active anymore, are problematic, especially if they were not formerly reproducible and well audited to be self-custodial following open standards. If the provider hasn’t answered inquiries for a year but their server is still running or similar circumstances might get this verdict, too.