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Bittrex to shut down US operations, cites regulatory challenges

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Bittrex, one of the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States, stated on Mar. 31 that it would be shutting down its operations owing to the “regulatory and economic climate” in the nation.

While winding down operations in the United States, the official statement claims that customers’ money will continue to be safe and accessible for withdrawal at any time.

Richie Lai, one of the co-founders of Bittrex, which in late 2022 was involved with the United States Treasury Department, noted that the regulatory framework in the country had produced an unequal competition field. Consequently, this has affected the company’s operations, even though Bittrex has been operating for over nine years.

He said continuing business operations is “no longer possible due to these challenges.” As a result, the board of directors concluded that processes would be terminated on Apr. 30. They allowed customers to withdraw their cash and assets before that day.

Recent moves by the US watchdogs on crypto

In recent months, US authorities have steadily decreased the freedom afforded to exchanges for years, notwithstanding these firms’ compliance with growing regulatory rules. As such, many enterprises find themselves on a difficult path.

A notable case is on Mar. 22 when the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a Wells notice against Coinbase, indicating that the regulator might take legal action against the exchange for “possible violations of securities laws.” This decision was regarding the exchange’s staking services and digital wallet.

Binance was the most recent cryptocurrency exchange to be investigated by authorities. It came after the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed a lawsuit against the company’s CEO, Changpeng Zhao, and Binance.com, the global cryptocurrency platform. Although the corporation does not have its headquarters in the United States, the CFTC took action as a show of how far the country’s jurisdiction extends.

The current SEC chairman, Gary Gensler, has already stated that all of the transactions on Ethereum fall under the purview of the United States government. However, he added that a vast majority of cryptocurrencies are securities. Therefore, if it becomes a standard criterion across the many regulatory cases, it could be detrimental to the cryptocurrency business in the nation.

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