Bitcoin surged to about $9,000 on a relatively unknown cryptocurrency exchange called WEX on Wednesday, while the top cryptocurrency was broadly unchanged on other leading trading venues.
The surprise spike in the price of Bitcoin on WEX caused market experts to warn of trouble. Market was speculating that the exchange was insolvent or that it was facing liquidity issues. Some traders worried if WEX was carrying out an exit scam.
The price of Bitcoin rose to nearly $9,000 on WEX around 17.45 UTC on July 11, Wednesday. As of 12.36 UTC on Thursday, Bitcoin was trading around $7,850 on WEX.
At the same time, Bitcoin was trading between $6,350 and $6,390 on Coinbase throughout the day.
The Singapore-based World Exchange Services, or WEX, announced on Twitter on July 10 that it has moved its API documentation to the software development platform GitHub.
At the start of the week, WEX also said it would carry out its planned system maintenance on July 12 with trading, withdrawal and other activities suspended for nearly 2 hours starting 10 am UTC.
The exchange also made available the Bitcoin to Tether (BTC/USDT) pair for trading on Wednesday.
Tether is a controversial altcoin as its creators has claimed that each of its token is backed by a US dollar. However, the firm behind the token is yet to reveal the audited results of its currency reserves.
Whether the spike in the Bitcoin price was related to any of these moves remains unclear. The exchange is yet to comment on this.
WEX is the new avatar of the erstwhile BTC-e cryptocurrency exchange, which was raided and fined by US authorities almost a year ago.
In September 2017, BTC-e rebranded itself as WEX to launch a new bitcoin exchange platform that was strikingly similar to the old one and even migrated all its users.
BTC-e, which was run by the London-based Always Efficient LLP with unknown leadership, helped to launder 650,000 bitcoins worth GBP 4.5 billion that were stolen from the now defunct Mt. Gox, an investigation by BBC Radio 4 found this year.
Started in 2011, BTC-e was notorious as a hub of cybercrime and helped to launder money, including ransom received from cyber attacks.
WEX has, however, denied any co-operation with Always Efficient LLP.
by Jyotsna V