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  • J Huang and M Bacina

Bittrex to shutter operations

Last week Bittrex Global, a global cryptocurrency exchange regulated in Lichtenstein and Bermuda, announced that it would wind down operations in the coming weeks. This move comes just months after Bittrex's US arm was shut down.

As part of this wind down process, trading on Bittrex Global will be halted on December 4, after which any user holding assets on the platform will only be allowed to withdraw them. The exchange did not give a reason for the decision.

The exchange also warned users against depositing on the exchange, stating that

funds may be permanently lost as a result of the attempted transfer.

Furthermore, Bittrex Global notified users that assets cannot be withdrawn in USD. Instead, the users would need to convert their USD balance into either EUR or crypto in order to withdraw them.

The complete shutdown of Bittrex follows Bittrex US's bankruptcy filed in Delaware in May. The bankruptcy was largely triggered by a USD$29 million fine last year by the US Treasury Deparement for the exchange's "apparent violation" of sanctions laws.

In April, Bittrex US was again sued by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for operating a national securities exchange without registration, and eventually settled that case for another USD$24 million.

Bittrex was once amongst the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, before other major players such as Binance and FTX emerged. Back in 2018, this exchange alone accounted for 23% of the entire market share.

The complete wind down of the Bittrex exchange is an indirect outcome of the US regulators' enforcement actions. Iron-fist enforcements are also happening to other exchanges. Last week Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange, along with its former CEO pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to anti-money laundering and US sanctions violations. The plea deal will see Binance pay USD$4.3 billion in penalties.

By Jake Huang and Michael Bacina


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