Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi celebrates its 10th anniversary with a controversial marketing move — the firm is rebranding from “Huobi” to “HTX,” echoing bankrupt exchange FTX. The name HTX represents the exchange, the blockchain project Tron, and the company’s 10th anniversary.
On Sept. 13, Huobi announced the rebranding. “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” stands for the Huobi Token (HT), which is the exchange’s native token 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.”
Huobi renamed its social media accounts to reflect the new name, before officially announcing the news. The exchange’s X (formerly Twitter) handle is now HTX_Global, while its official Telegram group is “HTXglobalofficial.” Its website domain still reflects the original Huobi name at the time of writing.
Questions from social media on Huobi’s new name quickly gathered attention, with many questioning the similarity to FTX, the now-defunct exchange undergoing bankruptcy 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 seemingly 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 G comes after F” — a play on FTX’s bankruptcy.
Arguments from some cryptocurrency observers was 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 is facing any issues.
In early August, it denied rumors stating that it was on the verge of bankruptcy and that Chinese police had detained some of its top executives. Before this, in May 2023, Malaysia’s securities regulator took enforcement action against Huobi Global and also ordered it to close its operations.