Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is leaving the United States due to an unfavorable regulatory environment, joining other crypto firms in their exodus. The increased scrutiny of crypto firms by US financial regulators has sparked concerns that authorities may be hindering the industry’s growth.
Bittrex Bids Farewell to Uncle Sam
Popular cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has announced its departure from the United States due to the unfavorable regulatory environment. Richie Lai, the CEO and co-founder, made the announcement on March 31, attributing the decision to the current US regulatory and economic landscape. Lai reassured users that their funds remain safe and will be available for immediate withdrawal, as the company shifts its focus to expanding Bittrex Global outside the US.
Regulatory Hurdles Take Their Toll
Bittrex has experienced its share of difficulties with regulators. In October 2022, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and Financial Crime Enforcement Network fined the exchange a hefty $53 million for failing to prevent customers from sanctioned countries, such as Cuba and Iran, from using its platform. Additionally, New York regulators ordered Bittrex to cease operations in the state over concerns of noncompliance and money laundering. Despite these challenges, Bittrex, launched in February 2014, has remained a market leader with a spot trading volume of $28.57 million in the last 24 hours.
Crypto Firms Flee the Land of the Free
Bittrex is not alone in its exodus from the US. In December, crypto lender Nexo announced it was shutting down its US operations due to regulatory concerns. Another exchange, Beaxy, closed its doors last week after facing charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has warned that more companies may follow suit due to the stringent regulatory climate.
Coinbase Considers a Separate Marketplace
In response to the growing regulatory pressures, rumors have circulated that Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange by trading volume in the US, plans to create a separate marketplace for customers outside the country. This move would enable the company to cater to global clients without facing the same regulatory hurdles as in the US.
Is the US Killing Crypto?
The increasing scrutiny of crypto firms by US financial regulators has raised speculation that authorities may be attempting to stifle the growth of the crypto industry. As more companies consider leaving the US, it remains to be seen whether regulators will adapt their approach to foster a more supportive environment for the burgeoning crypto market.