Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a controversial marketing move — the firm is rebranding from “Huobi” to “HTX,” echoing the name of bankrupt exchange FTX.
Huobi announced the rebranding on Sept. 13. “H” represents the first letter of Huobi, “T” represents Justin Sun’s blockchain project Tron, and “X” represents the exchange.
Another interpretation is that “HT” represents the exchange’s native Huobi Token (HT), while “X” is the Roman numeral for 10, which pays tribute to the company’s 10th anniversary. The firm‘s new slogan is: “HTX, Just Trade It.”
Before officially announcing the news, Huobi renamed its social media accounts to reflect the new name. The exchange’s X (formerly Twitter) handle is now HTX_Global, while its official Telegram group is “HTXglobalofficial.” HTX’s website domain still reflects the original Huobi name at the time of writing.
Huobi’s new name quickly gathered attention on social media, with many questioning the similarity to FTX, the now-defunct exchange whose founder, Sam Bankman-Fried, is facing 13 charges relating to fraud.
“What’s up with Huobi becoming HTX? I think it’s giving me FTX vibes,” one cryptocurrency observer wrote on X.
“Is this supposed to be a joke? FTX to HTX? That’s the first thing everyone will think,” another X user argued, expressing confusion as to why a brand would have taken such a name after FTX’s collapse in 2022.
Huobi is not the first company to potentially borrow a part of its name from the troubled FTX, however. In January 2023, the founders of collapsed cryptocurrency hedge fund Three Arrows Capital announced a plan to raise $25 million for a proposed crypto exchange called GTX. Per its pitch deck, the name is because “because G comes after F” — a play on FTX’s bankruptsy.
Some cryptocurrency observers also argued that Huobi was rebranded “after getting into legal trouble.” It’s unclear what legal troubles were implied, as the exchange has been denying that it’s facing any issues. In early August, it denied reports suggesting it was close to insolvency and also had some of its senior executives arrested by Chinese police in early August.
Previously, Huobi Global was also ordered to close its operations in Malaysia following an enforcement action from the country’s securities regulator in May 2023.
Huobi did not immediately respond to Cointelegraph’s request to comment.
Collect this article as an NFT to preserve this moment in history and show your support for independent journalism in the crypto space.