Singapore-based crypto lender Vauld suspends withdrawals

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Singapore-based crypto lending and trading platform Vauld said on Monday it would suspend withdrawals and trading and seek new investors, the latest sign of stress in the embattled crypto industry.

Vauld CEO Darshan Bathija said in a blog post that it was facing "financial challenges" due to: "the volatile market conditions, the financial difficulties of our key business partners inevitably affecting us, and the current market climate which has led to a significant amount of customer withdrawals in excess of a $197.7 million since June 12."

The crypto industry has been shaken by a series of collapses in recent months including the failure of so-called stablecoin TerraUSD, large U.S.-based lender Celsius network pausing withdrawals and Singapore-based crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital entering into liquidation.

Crypto lenders have been particularly affected and crypto exchange FTX has signed a deal with an option to buy embattled crypto lender BlockFi for up to $240 million, the company said last week.

Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency, has lost around half its value since early May, and was last trading at just under $20,000.

Vauld said it had appointed legal and financial advisers, was in discussions with potential investors, and would also apply to the Singapore courts for a moratorium that would have any proceedings against it halted to give it time to carry out a restructuring.

Vauld did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Alun John in Hong Kong, Editing by Louise Heavens)