At the end of March, US-based crypto exchange Bittrex announced that it was shuttering its operations. Bittrex stated that it would cease operations on April 30, 2023, while providing a series of timelines for its users, recommending that accounts are closed as soon as possible. At that time, Bittrexx stated:
“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… 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 U.S. counterparts are seemingly committed to extinguishing the industry and sending it overseas…”
Bittrex Global is still in operation.
Yesterday, according to a report by WSJ.com, Bittrex may soon receive notice of an enforcement action by the Securities and Exchange Commission as it has received a Wells Notice. The looming action by the SEC is just another move by the Commission to regulate by enforcement as they believe virtually all digital assets are securities (minus Bitcoin), and thus crypto exchanges are operating as unregistered entities and in breach of securities law. At the same time, the Commission has requested that crypto exchanges come in and register – something Coinbase has indicated is a false option.
According to the report, Bittrex has been under investigation by the SEC since 2017, having issued multiple subpoenas to decipher the operation of the crypto marketplace. The Wells Notice is said to allege that Bittrex operated as an exchange, broker-dealer and clearing house without appropriate regulatory approvals.
As Bittrex is already in the process of closing its US services, a settlement is probably in the works as Bittrex focuses its efforts in other jurisdictions. The company currently lists Liechtenstein and Bermuda as its base of operations but services are not available to US customers.