- Digital asset platform Bittrex Global has announced its decision to fully exit the cryptocurrency industry.
- Bittrex’s United States subsidiary halted all operations earlier this year.
- The exchange filed for bankruptcy.
2023 has been a rather turbulent year for cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex, marked by a series of challenges including legal battles and employee layoffs. In April 2023, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched legal proceedings against the exchange, accusing Bittrex of running an unregistered trading platform in the United States. The legal battle impacted the exchange’s operations, resulting in an inevitable bankruptcy filing in May.
Still reeling from the aftermath of the bankruptcy, Bittrex has bitten the dust, officially bowing out of the cryptocurrency market.
Bittrex Bids Goodbye
On Tuesday, November 20, Bittrex Global announced its decision to suspend operations on all its platforms.
The exchange stated that with immediate effect, all deposits, staking, and earning programs have been brought to a halt. Additional services such as trading operations, client relationships, and more will permanently cease on December 4, 2023.
While a formal deadline has not been established for withdrawals, users are urged to initiate the retrieval of their assets from the exchange without delay. Particularly, users holding USD balances must convert into EUR or other cryptocurrencies before December 4, to avoid potential permanent loss of assets.
Bittrex’s exit from the crypto industry is not an isolated event, but the culmination of a series of challenges that have plagued the firm over the years.
What Happened to Bittrex?
Bittrex’s woes began on April 18, when the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against its U.S. arm, former CEO William Shihara, and other entities.
The allegations included various charges such as the failure to register as a national securities exchange, investor protection violation, and the breach of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
In an effort to avoid legal trials, Bittrex chose to settle with the commission for $24 million, neither confirming nor denying the allegations. Shortly after in May, the exchange succumbed to a financial strain, filing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and announcing the permanent suspension of its U.S. subsidiary.
The exchange has outstanding liabilities amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars to an extensive list of creditors, one of which is the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Control.
On the Flipside
- While the heightened regulatory scrutiny was not cited as the reason for Bittrex’s departure from the crypto market, it is likely to have played a role in influencing the exchange’s decision.
- On Monday, November 20, the commission initiated legal proceedings against cryptocurrency exchange Kraken.
- The SEC and Chair Gary Gensler have wielded significant autonomy within the cryptocurrency industry, but ongoing efforts are in motion to curtail their influence as U.S. legislators openly criticize their actions.
Why This Matters
Bittrex’s exit from the crypto industry exemplifies how the Securities and Exchange Commission’s intensified regulatory actions can trigger a potential market exodus of more exchanges, either to friendlier jurisdictions or extinction.
Find out more on the SEC’s case against Bittrex and Bittrex US:
Why the SEC Case Against Bittrex Is Unique in a Sea of Crypto Lawsuits
Private banking institution Santander has embraced Bitcoin and Ethereum and is offering exclusive access to select clients. Read more:
Santander Santander Bank Boosts Financial Services With Crypto Trading