Huobi is a leading cryptocurrency exchange based in China. However, after the country's antagonistic stance against cryptocurrency, Huobi shifted to Singapore. As a crypto trading platform, Huobi offers margin trading, spot trading, and perpetual contracts and has more than 400 cryptocurrencies. That being said, being popular doesn't mean Huobi has the license to operate everywhere across the globe including the United States. This article will explain if Huobi is legal in the USA and whether they can use it.
Can You Use Huobi In The US?
No, citizens cannot use Huobi in the US as clearly stated in Section 1.2 of the 'Huobi Platform User Agreement' which lists the United States as a restricted country for all services. There was a time when US users could access Huobi within the US using Huobi.us. However, this platform was closed down at the beginning of 2022, and residents were forced to use other reputable cryptocurrency exchanges in the USA such as eToro, Kraken, Coinbase, and Binance.us.
That said, US-based citizens can use alternative ways to access the website for crypto-to-crypto trading. One of them is using the virtual private network which masks the user's original IP, allowing them to create an account on Huobi. However, accessing and using the platform via a VPN is also a breach of Huobi's User Agreement and, therefore, should not be carried out.
Why was Huobi Banned in the US?
On November 13, 2019, Huobi Global released a statement stating that it would freeze the crypto accounts of US-based users shortly while giving them some time to withdraw their assets and transfer them to their wallets.
It was done in light of America's regulatory environment regarding cryptocurrency trading. However, back then, Huobi did leverage its US-based strategic partner, Huobi.us, to allow users to conduct limited cryptocurrency swaps. It was similar to how Binance.US works, and Huobi.us worked independently from the main cryptocurrency exchange for a time. However, in December of that year, Huobi.US also halted exchange operations, and by January 31, 2020, Huobi's strategic partner exchange had closed down.
One of the many reasons Huobi, including other trading platforms, is the ongoing regulations imposed by the SEC (Security and Exchanges Commission). The SEC head has long seen cryptocurrencies as securities, and the community has rallied behind them. The recent legal battle, Ripple vs. SEC, highlights this issue. As a result of treating cryptocurrencies like securities, the government wants most cryptocurrency exchanges to implement KYC measures for crypto and install AML (Anti Money Laundering) protocols to stop illicit transactions from taking place. Since the essence of cryptocurrency is decentralization, many exchanges have decided not to operate directly in the US, including Huobi.
Additionally, Huobi is also a popular No-KYC exchange, with a $1000 deposit daily limit for unverified users. However, this limit is only applied for BRL, RUB, UAH, and KZT, which leaves users of other countries having to be content with a lower limit.
Huobi is also not registered in the US under any government agency, which makes it obvious why the US government doesn't allow US-based traders to trade on the exchange. Finally, Huobi also offers derivatives, which the United States government doesn't approve of at the time of writing. In light of so many prohibitions and ambiguities around cryptocurrency laws, Huobi has decided not to re-enter the US market.
Where Is Huobi Legal To Use?
Huobi is available to use globally, although there are several restricted countries that are prohibited from using the platform in its entirety and others that can use Huobi with the exception of its derivatives platform. As for the legality around Huobi, it is mixed at the time of writing. Huobi's subsidiary, Huobi Tech, has acquired a Money Services license from FinCEN (United States Financial Crimes Enforcement Network). Furthermore, according to CoinTelegraph, Huobi is licensed to operate in Dubai and New Zealand (except derivatives).
Additionally, in order to unlock all the features of Huobi, investors must provide their KYC details as is required under the Anti Money Laundering laws. When it comes to security, Huobi has taken multiple measures, including setting up a 20k BTC security reserve to help users receive assets during dangerous security breaches or accidents.
That said, users must be careful as Huobi has declared that there are certain third parties active that use Huobi's name and offer fake customer service. Huobi has warned that in light of encountering such instances, users must contact the official support team.
Can You Access Huobi With A VPN?
US citizens can access the trading services on Huobi using Virtual Private Network. Using VPN, traders can set their IP for another country, which will allow them to create an account on Huobi. Furthermore, users who are willing to trade within the limitations of no-verification deposits and withdrawals can use this method to start trading.
However, users must consider that while Huobi hasn't mentioned the use of VPNs explicitly in its User Agreement, that doesn't mean that it is legal. Countries like Myanmar have taken measures to imprison those who use VPNs to access websites, which is why it is advised that users learn about their local cyber laws before interacting with Huobi.
Popular Alternatives to Huobi in the USA
While Huobi is not available in the US, there are other worthy alternatives that offer similar services in terms of a spot exchange, derivatives/margin products, and earn features like staking. They include eToro, Kraken, Coinbase, and Binance.US. These platforms have acquired relevant licenses at the time of writing to operate in the US and enable citizens to safely and securely deposit and withdraw USD using bank transfers.
Frequently Asked Questions
The easiest way to use Huobi in the USA is by using a VPN app. Express VPN and NordVPn are some of the best available virtual networks available in the market that allow traders to hide their IPs and continue to trade on Huobi. However, investors are recommended not to offer any KYC details and stay satisfied as non-verified users.
It is not Huobi's obligation to report to Internal Revenue Services or any other government agency. Since the exchange is not licensed to operate in the US, it doesn't have to follow any of its financial laws.
Huobi is one of the world's leading cryptocurrency exchanges. Deeply liquid and providing over 400 cryptocurrencies, this crypto trading platform is barred from operating in certain countries, the US included. Users can circumvent this issue by using VPN to access the website, however, this is not recommended even though Huobi hasn't explicitly stated that it would breach its terms and conditions.