Bittrex Calls Out SEC‘s ‘Crusade’ Against Crypto Firms

The SEC’s approach to regulation via enforcement will have a ‘chilling effect’ on US crypto firms, Bittrex said Monday


Source: Shutterstock / Grey82, modified by Blockworks


Bittrex said Monday it is “disappointed” with the SEC’s decision to slap its exchange business with several charges relating to securities violations, claiming the move formed part of chairman Gary Gensler’s “larger crusade” to force crypto out of the US.

The exchange was hit with several charges from the regulator on Monday alleging six tokens available on its platform are considered securities, including Algorand’s native token (ALGO) and the Dash token (DASH). The two tokens have a current market capitalization of $1.6 billion and $664 million respectively.

It comes just weeks after Bittrex announced plans to leave the US for good, citing harsher regulatory conditions than competing jurisdictions as its reason for doing so.

On Monday, the SEC also alleged Bittrex operated as an “unregistered exchange, broker and clearing agency,” during its stint in the US. Bittrex’s former CEO, William Shihara, and international affiliate Bittrex Global GmbH are also on the hook.

“The impact of the SEC’s approach of regulation by enforcement will have a chilling effect on not just cryptocurrency in the United States, but on blockchain technology and innovation in general,” a Bittrex spokesperson said in a statement.

The SEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While in the US, the exchange claims it had conducted its business lawfully by providing a digital asset trading platform and did not violate any charges pertaining to securities or investment contracts.

The exchange said despite numerous occasions to contact the regulator to discuss which assets it considered as securities and would therefore be delisted, the SEC “refused to do so.”

“For over five years, and despite multiple, specific requests to do so, the SEC would not provide notice of the specific conduct that it thought violated the federal securities laws.”

Those words echo Coinbase’s Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal who, last month, wrote a testimony denouncing Gensler’s approach to crypto regulation.

Grewal said that although the US Exchange Act decrees securities to be traded via an SEC-registered exchange, there currently exists no path for crypto firms to register.

Gensler contests otherwise, claiming the “path to compliance is clear.” That has angered other exchanges, including Bittrex, as well as many of those within the crypto community

“The SEC’s actions will directly and substantially harm US customers and US employees in this industry and will ultimately put our country at a significant disadvantage in the development of blockchain technology, including uses far beyond cryptocurrency, in the future,” the Bittrex spokesperson said.

Bittrex declined Blockwork’s request for further comment.

Don’t miss the next big story – join our free daily newsletter.


Upcoming Events

Hilton Metropole | 225 Edgware Rd, London

Mon - Wed, March 18 - 20, 2024

Crypto’s premier institutional conference returns to London in March 2024. The DAS: London Experience: Attend expert-led panel discussions and fireside chats Hear the latest developments regarding the crypto and digital asset regulatory environment directly from policymakers and experts.

Salt Lake City, UT

WED - FRI, OCTOBER 9 - 11, 2024

Pack your bags, anon — we’re heading west! Join us in the beautiful Salt Lake City for the third installment of Permissionless. Come for the alpha, stay for the fresh air. Permissionless III promises unforgettable panels, killer networking opportunities, and mountains […]

recent research

Research report - cover graphics (1).jpg


In this report, we dive into crypto private market data to gather insights on where the future of the industry is headed. Despite a notable downturn in private raises, capital continues to infuse promising projects that aim to transform payments, banking, consumer experiences, community, and more, with 2023 being the fourth-largest year for crypto venture capital.


Sora leverages artificial intelligence to transform written descriptions into photo realistic video content


The only way to weaken this deceitful system is to starve it — users must simply tune out influencers altogether


A UK minister believes that the UK can get staking and stablecoin legislation approved by lawmakers in six months


After teasing a Senate bid last week, John Deaton launched a website over the weekend


Crypto markets overall haven’t yet tested all-time highs, but MetaMask is well on its way to record numbers of active users



Season 6 boasts a prize pool of up to $650,000, featuring $500,000 in TRX for regular prizes and $150,000 in energy prizes