Konstantin Kryvopust: crypto exchange Bittrex stops operations in the USA in the conditions of a complex regulatory environment

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Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is shutting down operations in the US, citing increased regulatory pressure and a lack of clear regulatory requirements.

On Friday blog posts Bittrex co-founder Richie Lai said the exchange will cease operations in the US by the end of April. He added that US users will not be able to trade on the platform from April 14.

“It is simply not economically viable for us to continue operating in the current US regulatory and economic environment,” Lai said in a statement.

“Regulatory requirements are often vague and applied without appropriate discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive environment. Work in the USA is no longer possible.”

Lai assured users that all funds are safe and immediately available for withdrawal.

Founded in 2014 by three Amazon alumni, Bittrex is an American crypto exchange that specializes in trading cryptocurrency pairs. The exchange supports more than 250 cryptocurrencies.

The move to wind down US operations came after Bittrex was fined by the Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network last year for not preventing customers in Iran, Cuba and other sanctioned countries from using its platform.

The exchange has also come under regulatory scrutiny in New York, where regulators ordered the platform to cease operations in the state, citing concerns about its ability to detect money laundering and comply with sanctions.

According to data from CoinGecko, trading volume on Bittrex was around $17 million in the last 24 hours. For comparison, Coinbase is $1.4 billion and Binance is $10 billion.

Crypto repression in the US is intensifying

US regulators have recently stepped up scrutiny of cryptocurrency companies following the catastrophic collapse of FTX and other prominent digital asset companies.

Last December, crypto lender Nexo announced it would exit the US market after facing cease and desist orders from several states on its interest products. The company also agreed to pay $22.5 million to settle an interstate lawsuit.

Similarly, the SEC reached an agreement with crypto exchange Kraken to stop providing services or staking programs to customers in the country and pay a $30 million fine.

In addition, the agency threatened Paxos , the US-registered firm that issues the Binance stablecoin Binance USD (BUSD), with legal action over the issuance of BUSD tokens. The agency argued that BUSD is considered an unregistered security.

And recently, the regulator sent a “Wells notice” to Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the US, threatening the platform with legal action over some of the listed digital assets, its staking service Coinbase Earn, Coinbase Prime and Coinbase Wallet.

Some industry experts warn that the SEC’s hostile regulatory approach could push the crypto industry beyond the United States.

“The US has left a vacuum that other countries are looking to fill,” Coinbase lead lawyer Daniel Seifert said in a recent blog post. “We are proud to be an American company. It’s hard to sit back and watch the U.S. lose an opportunity.”

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