‘We Never Got a Chance to Respond’: Bittrex CEO on SEC Wells Notice

“As an industry, as a company, we’d much rather have clear rules that say what we can’t do than the uncertainty and the fog associated with simply not knowing what to do,” Linch told Blockworks


Sharaf Maksumov/Shuttertock modified by Blockworks


The CEO of Bittrex Global, Oliver Linch, sat down with Blockworks to discuss receiving a Wells notice from the SEC and the shuttering of Bittrex US. 

“We don’t know what the SEC is thinking,” Linch said. 

He clarified that Bittrex Global and US are “entirely separate companies,” which is a clarification that Linch does not believe the SEC understands, as the SEC is pursuing charges against both exchanges.

“The very, very first conversation we had, the very base interaction of any kind we had from the SEC was when they gave us the Wells notice,” Linch said. His team asked for time to respond to the Wells notice but were told “don’t bother.”

In April, Bittrex was hit with multiple charges by the SEC. The commission alleges that six of the available tokens on Bittrex are securities because investors had a “reasonable expectation of profits.”

The SEC also claimed that Bittrex operated as an “unregistered exchange, broker and clearing agency.” 

Read more: Bittrex Calls Out SEC‘s ‘Crusade’ Against Crypto Firms

“I’ve never spoken to anyone at the SEC in any capacity,” Linch said. He noted that lawyers at Bittrex were able to have conversations with the SEC “finally” but the conversations lacked “substance” and did not allow the exchange the “opportunity to explain what was going on.”

Prior to the formal charges, Bittrex US announced that it would shut down the US exchange on March 31.

“As a direct result of continued regulatory uncertainty and a lack of interest from U.S. regulators regarding sensible policies that will foster innovation and enhance the American economy, Bittrex U.S. has made the difficult decision to wind down and will close its U.S. operations,” CEO Richie Lai wrote in a statement. The exchange was closed on April 30. 

“As an industry, as a company, we’d much rather have clear rules that say what we can’t do than the uncertainty and the fog associated with simply not knowing what to do,” Linch said. 

“Ultimately, that’s why I think the Bittrex US decision to close down in the US came because we only believe in doing the right thing and we, literally, can’t because we don’t know what that means,” he continued. 

However, SEC Chair Gary Gensler said that the “path to compliance is clear.”

“Blockchain is genuinely disruptive, and yet [the US is] trying to regulate it according to principles that were set out nearly 100 years ago. It’s not going to work, and it’s not working, and there’s lessons to be learned on how to make it work,” Linch said.

Get the day’s top crypto news and insights delivered to your email every evening. Subscribe to Blockworks’ free newsletter now.

Want alpha sent directly to your inbox? Get degen trade ideas, governance updates, token performance, can’t-miss tweets and more from Blockworks Research’s Daily Debrief.

Can’t wait? Get our news the fastest way possible. Join us on Telegram and follow us on Google News.


upcoming event

MON - WED, MARCH 18 - 20, 2024

Digital Asset Summit (DAS) is returning March 2024. This year’s event will be held in our nation’s capital, where industry leaders, policymakers, and institutional experts will come together to discuss the latest developments and challenges in the ever-evolving world of cryptocurrency. […]

upcoming event

MON - WED, SEPT. 11 - 13, 2023

2022 was a meme.Skeptics danced, believers believed.Eventually, newcomers turned away, drained of liquidity and hope.Now, the tide is shifting and it’s time to rebuild. Permissionless II is the brainchild of Blockworks and Bankless. It’s not just a conference, but a call […]

recent research

The State of LSTFi


There are five broad use cases for LSTs that are gaining traction alongside growth in demand: leverage farming, liquidity providing, LST baskets, stablecoin collateral, and interest rate derivatives.



Alexander Vinnik’s lawyers aim to swap his freedom for detained WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich


This latest update will introduce immutability to token metadata but ensure that its key characteristics are preserved, and it will also introduce network fees


In a blog post, partly directed at the forthcoming Eigenlayer protocol, the Ethereum co-founder cautions against overloading consensus


Hunting for victims in Ethereum’s public mempool, automated searchers prey on transactions as they are discovered in a practice called MEV


The crypto exchange that filed for bankruptcy last November would endure a long road to raise funds, clear debts and gain trust, law pros say


The broadcasters were discussing Hong Kong’s new regulations for virtual asset trading platforms set to go into effect June 1