The platform informed suspending crypto and digital assets withdrawals in the wee hours of 16th October soon after revealing that it has lost contact with one of its private key holders who was "co-operating" in a Chinese government investigation.
The exchange noted that it has been "out of touch" with the key-holder, preventing the "associated authorization" from being completed. "We assure that OKEx's other functions remain normal and stable and the security of your assets at OKEx will not be affected".
Worth mentioning that hours before OKEx made the public announcement, blockchain tracker WhaleAlert noted several massive transfers of bitcoin, ethereum, and Tron between OKEx and unidentified wallets.
OKEx targets asian markets, although it is headquartered in Malta. The exchange is also the second-biggest crypto derivatives platform after BitMEX.
Jay Hao, the CEO of OKEx, confirmed on Twitter that fiat withdrawals from the exchange are unaffected by the suspension.
Popular Chinese journalist, Colin Wu, for instance, insinuated that the exchange is being investigated for possible money laundering: "The Chinese government is cracking down on money laundering using cryptocurrency for telecom fraud, and centralized exchanges are in a very risky state".
"In my opinion, prices will recover because the latest OKEx issue is not related to hacking or shutting down the exchange", Ki Young Ju, CEO of South Korean analytics firm CryptoQuant, told CoinDesk in a Telegram message. The news about hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cryptocurrencies being trapped on the exchange shaved off around 3 percent off of Bitcoin's price but sent UNI, Uniswap's native token, up by nearly 15 percent.
While Bitcoin and the rest of the cryptocurrencies flipped green again, the same can not be said for OKEx's native token OKB which registered a decline of over 15% in the last 24-hours.