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OKX seizes 2M USDT linked to market manipulation

According to a press release published by cryptocurrency exchange OKX on Feb. 28, the firm said that it seized 2,014,381 Tether (USDT) from five accounts suspected of partaking in “malicious market manipulation,” of the Celestial (CELT) token. As told by OKX, on Feb. 26, Celestial developers announced the creation of a new blockchain game. Shortly afterwards, the Celestial developers allegedly launched a social media campaign promoting the new game using OKX’s branding, which the firm says was unauthorized. As a partial result of the activities, the CELT token nearly doubled in value within two days’ time before falling over 50% in the past 24 hours to $0.002129 at the time of publication. 

In response to user allegations of insider trading, OKX explained that the exchange, through its subsidiary OKX Ventures, invested $100,000 into the Celestial GameFi project in Sept. 2021. However, the exchange stated that the CELT tokens it received were deposited into OKX Ventures’ accounts “without any transactions,” and “no evidence” of insider trading involving OKX staff was found as per its investigation.

Nevertheless, the exchange froze 714,381 USDT from five accounts suspected of market manipulation and claimed Celestial would return 1.3 million USDT linked to such activities that have since left the exchange. As outlined by OKX, the firm will allocate 1 million USDT, along with 2,014,381 USDT obtained through seizure, for a combined restitution of 3,014,381 USDT to be airdropped to affected users. Users are eligible for the airdrop if they purchased CELT tokens between Feb. 25, 12 AM Hong Kong Time (HKT) to Feb. 28, 12 AM HKT, and suffered losses. Due to the complexity of the Airdrop, OKX says it will publish details within the next 48 hours.

The CELT token saw wild trading sessions before and after the announcement of a new blockchain game. | Source: (CoinMarketCap)