SEC Files Charges Against Bittrex for Operating Unregistered Exchange and Clearing Agency

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SEC Files Charges Against Bittrex for Operating Unregistered Exchange and Clearing Agency

SEC charges Bittrex – Not long ago, we reported that Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex was undergoing investigations by the SEC. The scrutiny was a result of an alleged violation of the investors’ protection law.

The United States Security and Exchange Commission has taken a step further to charge the company. The lawsuit includes Bittrex, Bittrex Global, and its former CEO Bill Shihara.

The SEC claims that Bittrex violated security laws by not fully registering with the agency. Furthermore, the complaints allege that Bittrex did not register as an exchange, a clearing agency, or a broker-dealer.

In the complaint, the SEC also alleges that former CEO Shihara arranged with crypto asset issuers who sought to make their crypto listed for trading on Bittrex to delete public statements that would lead the regulators to investigate those security tokens.

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Bittrex foreign affiliate Bittrex Global was also included in the lawsuit. They were charged for not properly registering as a national securities exchange given that it operates a single “shared order book” with Bittrex.

At the time of writing, Bill Shihara has not officially responded to requests for comments.

What’s More in the Lawsuit

The SEC further added that from 2017 to 2022, the exchange company had revenue of at least $1.3 billion from investors’ transaction fees. Bittrex serviced investors as a broker, exchange, and clearing agency while failing to register with the exchange commission.

The lawsuit states,

“Bittrex has for years defied the regulatory structures and evaded the disclosure requirements that Congress and the SEC have over the course of decades constructed for the protection of the national securities markets and investors,”

In a statement, Gary Gensler said,

“Today’s action, yet again, makes plain that the crypto markets suffer from a lack of regulatory compliance, not a lack of regulatory clarity,” “Today we’re holding Bittrex accountable for its non-compliance.”

This lawsuit comes as the latest development in a series of enforcement actions taken by U.S. regulators against different cryptocurrency exchanges this year.

Other crypto exchanges that have found themselves in the sight of the SEC include Coinbase and Kraken. They are being monitored by the commission over products relating to cryptocurrency staking.

Meanwhile, Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume has been on the radar of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission for breaking multiple derivatives trading rules.

Bittrex US Operation Shutdown

Bittrex previously announced in March 2023 that it will be ceasing its operation in the United States. Users were further advised to withdraw their assets from the platform by April 30.

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