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Crypto Exchange Bittrex to Exit US Due to Regulatory Challenges

After nine years operating in the US, cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex is winding down operations, citing regulatory uncertainty.

Photo by Ai Nhan / Unsplash

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Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange launched in 2014 by three ex-Amazon employees, will cease operations in the United States because of the country's "no longer feasible" regulatory climate.

It's "not economically viable for us to continue to operate in the current US regulatory and economic environment," Bittrex co-founder and US CEO Richie Lai tweeted.

Its global company outside the US will continue to operate, and all client money will be accessible until the end of April.

As regulatory monitoring of the digital asset business increases, Bittrex becomes the latest company to leave the nation.

After receiving cease-and-desist orders from numerous states about its interest-earning products, cryptocurrency lender Nexo announced its exit from the US market in December.

Genesis Global Capital, Gemini Trust, and Kraken are just a few large and small firms shaken by a wave of enforcement proceedings taken by the US SEC this year.

Related: Aggressive, Expanded Scrutiny Leave Crypto Firms in Limbo

Bittrex was fined US$53 million in October for failing to prohibit consumers in Iran, Cuba, and other sanctioned nations from using its platform.

The payment was levied by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) and the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of the Treasury.

After reaching an amicable agreement with OFAC and FinCEN, the firm expressed its satisfaction.

Concerns about Bittrex's capacity to identify money laundering and comply with sanctions led New York officials to order the exchange to suspend operations in the state in 2019.

Bittrex was launched in 2014 by Bill Shihara, a former manager of security engineering at Amazon, and two other Amazon cybersecurity experts.

According to Lai's tweet on Friday, Bittrex "never lost funds or been hacked."

For now, the pain from increased scrutiny has left the industry in limbo after a price collapse and a spate of bankruptcies last year.

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