Bittrex Global has issued an official statement confirming the reaching of a settlement with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, the company has little good to say about American regulators, and attempts to deflect any blame for the high-profile lawsuit.
The statement addresses some of the issues raised in the SEC’s lawsuit, which charged that the company had operated an unregistered exchange within the United States. Bittrex moved to have the case dismissed in June.
Bittrex US Will Pay the Fee, Bittrex Global Will Pay Nothing
The company acknowledges there will be a $24 million payout as part of the settlement. However, Bittrex Inc. (also known as Bittrex US) will be responsible for the payment, not Bittrex Global.
This is in keeping with the terms of the settlement as first announced by the SEC on August 10.
In the official statement, Oliver Linch, Bittrex Global CEO, praised the outcome but also sounded a sober note:
“We are delighted that a settlement on these terms has been quickly reached. While it is good news for Bittrex Global, now is not the time for a victory lap. Instead, with this matter behind us, we can concentrate on building our vision for the future of crypto.”
However, Linch also appeared to take a swipe at crypto regulation in America. The statement said that the exchange was “proud to be regulated in Liechtenstein and Bermuda, two of the leading and most respected jurisdictions for regulatory oversight of crypto in the world.”
Clearly, the settlement talks had not left Bittrex with a high opinion of US regulators. Hence Bittrex would much rather do business in offshore and European jurisdictions that are more crypto-friendly.
The US Arm Declared Bankruptcy Shortly After Closing
Bittrex reached a decision to leave the US market on May 1 of this year. In a statement about that development, the exchange suggested the American regulatory regime is “unclear and enforced without appropriate discussion or input.”
Not surprisingly, the exchange argued in the same statement that it is no longer economically viable to operate stateside. A curious excuse, given that the United States is one of the biggest cryptocurrency markets in the world.
But the US arm of the exchange filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on May 8. From its own point of view, it may have been correct about at least that much.
The SEC’s version of the story is that Bittrex operated as an unregistered broker, exchange, and clearing agency. The regulator believes Bittrex provided services to US investors involving crypto assets that the SEC claims were securities.
The complaint also states that Bittrex and its former CEO, Shihara, instructed issuers to remove certain “problematic statements” to prevent regulatory scrutiny regarding whether the crypto assets were in fact securities.
In its Wednesday statement, Bittrex Global says it will neither confirm nor deny the SEC’s charges.
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