In brief

  • An obsessed Bitfinex follower traveled to Hong Kong in search of the company’s HQs.
  • Having found nothing, he reached out to the crypto exchange for answers.
  • Bitfinex responded with a perplexing email.

Where is Bitfinex? The question had long been nagging Cas Piancey (pronounced “Caspian Sea”), an online persona, who tweets relentlessly about the crypto exchange. He became so obsessed about the firm's opaque business model, that two years ago, he and a cameraman buddy flew from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to uncover the mystery of where it was located.

He figured Bitfinex must have an office somewhere. 

“No one knows where they are, if they have an actual office, how to get in touch with the executives, or how to actually get any serious problem resolved,” he told Decrypt when asked what possessed him to travel all that way. 

The people behind the major cryptocurrency exchange also issue a popular stablecoin, Tether, under a separate company. Both companies are being probed by the New York Attorney General over an alleged $850 million fraud. 

Bitfinex's website offers few clues to its whereabouts. Piancey (not his real name, obv.) was convinced the firm must be in Hong Kong, mainly because for years, in every press release, the company said it was based there. 

Armed with three addresses he dug up online—representing Bitfinex, Tether, and parent company iFinex—Piancey decided to find out. He and his friend spent about $1,500 each on the journey. 

What did they find? 

Bupkis, nothing—the pair went to three office locations listed as company headquarters but found that none of the offices appeared to belong to iFinex, Bitfinex, or Tether. 

Piancey, who called the experience, “disappointing but not surprising,” submitted a story about his fruitless sojourn to Decrypt. We told him to reach out to Bitfinex for an explanation. His colleague Bennett Tomlin (the two are working on a book together) wrote to Bitfinex. The company sent back a response that was almost cryptic. 

“Please find below, a recent press release, highlighting the decentralised structure of Bitfinex,” Joe Morgan, senior PR manager at Bitfinex, wrote in an email, which Tomlin shared with us. A press release pasted into the body detailed how the company had decentralized in the face of COVID-19—even though Piancey went to Hong Kong long before the pandemic.

Bitfinex “has advocated that businesses adopt a decentralized model that promotes remote working as a means of adapting to the challenges presented by the coronavirus,” the press release stated. 

Even more puzzling, it went into detail about how the new business model contributed to a “more diverse workforce, which includes working mothers and those with disabilities.” And how the model allowed for flexibility with childcare. 

“We are resilient in these very challenging times,” Claudia Lagorio, Bitfinex COO, said in the release. “From a personal point of view, it is a blessing to be able to deliver business as usual to our customers in a safe and secure environment.”

When Tomlin wrote back to point out that his original request for comment was in regard to a situation nearly two years ago, Bitfinex did not respond. 

Here's the press release:

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Being True to the Ideals of Decentralization can Help Businesses Fight Coronavirus, says Bitfinex 

ROAD TOWN, British Virgin Islands, March 18 2020 - Bitfinex, a state-of-the-art digital asset trading platform, has advocated that businesses adopt a decentralized model that promotes remote working as a means of adapting to the challenges presented by the coronavirus.

The blockchain space has a reputation for being at the forefront of new technologies. The sector is also innovative in developing new business models that are inclusive and contribute to a more diverse workforce, which includes working mothers and those with disabilities. Bitfinex’s decentralised business model — which was designed to serve a global pool of customers across different time zones — has shown optimal business performance amid recent market turmoil. This is in part because of a decentralised work structure. 

Bitfinex’s business model allows specialist service providers based around the world to deploy their talents. The exchange leverages an expert workforce that has the skills, experience, and capacity to collaborate productively in remote environments. While the pandemic has caused severe disruption to businesses across the globe, it has had a minimal impact on Bitfinex’s ability to service its customers.

As a multilingual team in a variety of fields, including technology, finance and law, Bitfinex has fostered an ‘anti-fragile’ culture in which individuals are offered flexible working hours to meet business demands. Bitfinex’s culture encourages remote collaboration, with various workplace communication applications used to ensure that contractors keep in regular contact. Meanwhile, customer service personnel based across many different time zones are able to ensure the consistent delivery of an optimal customer service experience. 

“We are resilient in these very challenging times,” said Claudia Lagorio, COO at Bitfinex. “Being already set up and trained to work remotely, our personnel’s productivity hasn’t been affected by COVID-19. From a personal point of view, it is a blessing to be able to deliver business as usual to our customers in a safe and secure environment. It helps us keep a sense of normalcy in this uncertain and volatile climate that we have never experienced before.”

Lagorio added that remote working has the additional benefits of enabling individuals to enjoy a better work–life balance. For example, working mothers are able to continue pursuing a career while attending to child care duties, and barriers are removed to those with disabilities. Furthermore, the opportunity to work for an innovative, global technology company is no longer restricted to those living in the major business hubs of developed economies. 

“At Bitfinex, we work in a multicultural environment that promotes the exchange of knowledge and personal development, making it a great experience for everybody,” said Lagorio. “Thanks to technology, we have all the instruments to work and collaborate in real time without compromising quality, safety and security. Personnel attend periodic team building events where we meet in person and collaborate and socialize together. This helps to build relationships that last over time and makes daily work and interactions much smoother and more meaningful.”

Cementing its reputation as the most reliable, high-quality trading venue in the cryptocurrency space, Bitfinex has provided an impeccable service to its customers in recent weeks, which have seen cryptocurrency prices plummet. Notably, trading volumes of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on Bitfinex exceeded $2 billion during a 24-hour period in which the bitcoin price plunged 50 percent.

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About Bitfinex

Founded in 2012, Bitfinex is a digital asset trading platform offering state-of-the-art services for digital token traders and global liquidity providers. In addition to a suite of advanced trading features and charting tools, Bitfinex provides access to peer-to-peer financing, an OTC market and financed trading for a wide selection of digital assets. Bitfinex's strategy focuses on providing unparalleled support, tools, and innovation for experienced traders and liquidity providers around the world. Visit www.bitfinex.com to learn more.