On November 20, the cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex Global, based in Liechtenstein, abruptly announced that it would cease all its operations worldwide starting Monday, December 4, 2023.
According to the statement posted on its website, Bittrex Global will halt all trading activities on its platform and will only allow fund withdrawals after December 4, urging users to withdraw their funds in full before that date.
Bittrex Global Suspends Operations Amid Regulatory Scrutiny
The closure of Bittrex Global comes nine months after its U.S. subsidiary filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware, following the announcement of ceasing operations in the U.S. after being accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of operating without registration.
In April, the SEC accused Bittrex and its co-founder and former CEO, William Shihara, of unlawfully running an unregistered securities exchange, allegedly generating around $1.3 billion. This resulted in a fine that Bittrex agreed to pay in August, amounting to $24 million for the alleged violations.
Bittrex Global ranks among the top 100 global exchanges, albeit with much lower trading volume than industry giants like Coinbase or Binance, recording only $6 million in daily volume after having been one of the largest exchanges in the U.S. before its regulatory issues in 2021.
Bittrex Assures that User Funds are Secure
Despite the regulatory challenges faced by Bittrex, the platform has strongly emphasized that user funds are secure on the platform and can be withdrawn without any issues.
“All funds and tokens remain safe and secure on the Bittrex Global platform and are available for withdrawal – in accordance with applicable law and our Terms of Service – at any time using the withdrawal facilities on the platform,” the statement quoted.
Additionally, the exchange expressed regret for any inconveniences caused by its decision to users without disclosing the specific reasons behind the closure, although all signs indicate that its issues with the SEC are much larger than anticipated, especially considering the regulator’s recent actions against two major cryptocurrency exchanges, Binance and Kraken.
Yesterday, the SEC demanded $4 billion from Binance to withdraw the lawsuit against it. On the same day, the SEC filed charges against Kraken, nine months after what seemed to be the resolution of their disputes, following Kraken’s acceptance of a $30 million bond payment.
Therefore, the current situation involving Bittrex and other exchanges raises questions about the stability in the relationship between cryptocurrency exchanges and regulators. It also creates uncertainty over whether previous purported resolutions between these actors can be trusted.
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