Bittrex to Shut Down US Business Amid ‘Regulatory Uncertainty’

The decision is based on the “sad reality” of lawmakers in the country “seemingly committed to extinguishing the industry,” according to the Bittrex CEO

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Sharaf MaksumovShutterstock, modified by Blockworks

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Bittrex is shutting down its US operations, the crypto exchange’s co-founder said Friday, citing “regulatory uncertainty” and an unwillingness by lawmakers to embrace innovation. 

While Bittrex Global will continue to operate, Bittrex US is set to close on April 30. Customer funds are safe and can be withdrawn until then, Bittrex CEO Richie Lai said in a statement.    

“The sad reality is that while policymakers and regulators in jurisdictions around the world work with digital asset exchanges on shaping the future of the global economy, their US counterparts are seemingly committed to extinguishing the industry and sending it overseas,” Lai added.

Bittrex Global remains regulated in Bermuda and Liechtenstein, the CEO said, noting that it would look to continue growing that business.  

The company’s decision to wind down its US arm comes as regulators in the country have initiated a string of enforcement actions against crypto firms in recent weeks and months. 

Bittrex itself had faced regulatory hurdles before, agreeing to pay $24.3 million to the US Treasury last October for allegedly violating US sanctions.

A company spokesperson said at the time the company was “pleased to have fully resolved this matter with OFAC and FinCEN on mutually agreeable terms.” 

More recently, the SEC issued Coinbase a Wells Notice from the SEC last week. The same day, the commission launched a suit against Tron network founder Justin Sun for allegedly selling unregistered securities. Coinbase said it doesn’t list securities, while Sun tweeted the complaint regarding Tron “lacks merit.”

A Coinbase blog published Wednesday argued a lack of crypto regulatory clarity in the US could cause its loss of developer share in the coming years “as web3 development moves overseas” — citing a report by Electric Capital.


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