Huobi said the exchanges, which are both deeply involved with Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun, are "committing to build the world's top trading platform."
Days after calling reports of a merger with Poloniex "categorically untrue," crypto exchange Huobi announced a "strategic partnership" between the two.
Both exchanges are at least closely associated with Tron blockchain founder Justin Sun, if not outright controlled by him.
In 2019, after initial denials, he admitted to being part of an investor group that bought the Poloniex crypto exchange from Circle as it focused on its USDC stablecoin.
Huobi, which serves both the spot and derivatives markets, announced last month that it had been acquired by Hong Kong-based About Capital Management. Sun at the time denied reports that he was the real buyer, describing himself as an "advisor" to Huobi.
However, while Huobi was telling CoinDesk the Poloniex rumors were untrue, Sun was telling The Block that while there was no plan to merge, such a move "could be" possible in the future.
As for Huobi itself, the "strategic partnership" it described with the smaller exchange sure sounded like control. For one thing, it flat out referred to a merger, saying it and Poloniex are "committing to build the world's top trading platform and gaining the trust of users."
To make that happen, it said, they "will progressively cooperate in multiple business aspects including HT ecosystem development, project connectivity, liquidity sharing, and global compliance."
For another, Huobi then added:
"From December 2022, Huobi Advisory Board will evaluate all projects on Poloniex on a monthly basis. Top performing projects will stand a chance to be listed directly on Huobi, enjoy full support from Huobi, and get access to users from Huobi."
The announcement also teased future link-ups, saying Huobi "will progressively establish strategic partnerships with excellent partners in this industry moving forward, please stay tuned!"