July 25, 2024

Amid the ongoing crypto bull market, the top crypto exchange insurance funds have seen a remarkable surge in value, surpassing the $1 billion mark.

As of April 3rd, the Secure Asset Fund for Users (SAFU) maintained by leading crypto exchange Binance has seen its balances soar to over $2.03 billion. This significant increase marks a substantial jump from its initial balance of $1 billion back in January 2022. Similarly, Bitget’s protection fund, which was initially launched at $300 million in November 2022, has now surged to an impressive $612 million, buoyed by the appreciation of its Bitcoin holdings.

The surge in these insurance funds comes against the backdrop of a relentless crypto bull run, with Bitcoin witnessing a staggering 136% gain and Binance Coin (BNB) soaring by 79.36% over the past year.

While most crypto exchanges offer some form of insurance protection for their users, only Binance and Bitget have publicly disclosed their on-chain addresses. For instance, Huobi, now HTX, announced a substantial reserve of 20,000 BTC ($1.32 billion) in 2019 to mitigate extreme security incidents. However, it remains unclear if the exchange still holds this balance, particularly following a series of exploits suffered by the HTX group of companies last year.

Meanwhile, OKX boasts a $700 million “Risk Shield” program for user protection, although details regarding the composition of this fund are unclear. Other exchanges like Coinbase offer insurance based on factors such as users’ geographical location and the nature of their funds (fiat or crypto). In a bid to instill confidence and ensure user safety, decentralized exchange HootDex is rumored to have established a $400 million “Digital Asset Shield” program, despite its decentralized nature.

However, it’s worth noting that exchanges may opt not to disclose the on-chain addresses of their holdings for various reasons, including cybersecurity concerns or, as seen in the case of defunct exchange FTX, deception. Last October, former FTX CTO Gary Wang revealed that the exchange’s purported $100 million insurance fund in 2021 was fabricated and never contained any FTX tokens (FTT).

While on-chain addresses offer some transparency, they do not provide insights into an exchange’s off-chain liabilities. Nonetheless, regulatory mandates in some jurisdictions, such as Hong Kong, require crypto exchanges to provide insurance covering up to 50% of users’ fiat and crypto assets, emphasizing the growing importance of user protection in the crypto space.

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