Southeast Asia crypto exchange Zipmex to resume withdrawals

Representations of cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Ethereum, DogeCoin, Ripple, Litecoin are placed on PC motherboard in this illustration taken, June 29, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

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July 21 (Reuters) – Southeast Asia-focused cryptocurrency exchange Zipmex said it would resume withdrawals on Thursday after a suspension the day before, and was working to address its exposure of $53 million to crypto lenders Babel Finance and Celsius.

Zipmex said it was in talks with Babel Finance, which suspended withdrawals in June, to resolve its $48 million exposure to the crypto services firm, while a Babel Finance spokesperson said it was actively working with Zipmex to avoid customer losses.

Zipmex said it would write off its $5 million exposure to Celsius.

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“Zipmex is exploring all available channels including fund raising, legal action and restructuring,” the company said in a statement.

The company had said in a tweet on Wednesday that it suspended withdrawals, with an executive of its Thai affiliate citing liquidity difficulties at Babel Finance and Celsius as factors behind the move.

Withdrawals in Thailand resumed late on Wednesday, except for transfers from one investment product, while the company said withdrawals would be restored in other regions later on Thursday.

Zipmex, which says it operates in Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, is the latest in a string of crypto players globally to run into difficulties following a sharp sell off in markets that started in May with the collapse of two paired tokens, Luna and TerraUSD. read more

The company’s tweet on Wednesday cited “volatile market conditions and the resulting financial difficulties of our key business partners” for the suspension.

U.S.-based Celsius filed for Chapter 11 protection on July 13, listing a $1.19 billion deficit on its balance sheet. read more

Celsius did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Celsius and Babel Finance are among several crypto players that have fallen into difficulties in recent months. read more

Singapore-based crypto fund Three Arrows Capital is in liquidation, prompting expectations in Singapore’s crypto sector of further restructuring and greater regulatory scrutiny. read more

A spokesperson for the Monetary Authority of Singapore said the regulator was assessing an application for a crypto services licence by Zipmex and would engage with the company on the recent developments, including the decision to suspend withdrawals, as part of that assessment. Zipmex is operating under an exemption while it awaits word on its application.

Zipmex said it was cooperating with the Thai Securities Exchange Commission, while Indonesia’s government said it would ask Zipmex Indonesia to ensure that its crypto asset trading is safeguarded from the impact of the situation.

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Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Juarawee Kittisilpa in Bangkok, Stefanno Sulaiman in Jakarta and Chen Lin in Singapore; Writing and additional reporting by Alun John; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Edmund Klamann

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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