Crypto Exchange Bittrex Settles With SEC

Crypto Exchange Bittrex Settles With SEC – Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has come to an agreement to resolve the charges brought against it by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Bittrex and its subsidiary Bittrex Global have agreed to pay a total of $24 million to settle the matter. The SEC’s director of enforcement accused Bittrex of collaborating with token issuers for several years to modify their online statements in an attempt to bypass federal securities laws.

On Thursday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) made an announcement regarding a settlement with crypto trading platform Bittrex Inc., its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara, and the foreign entity Bittrex Global GmbH. This settlement comes after the SEC had filed charges against Bittrex entities and Shihara in April.

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Specifically, the SEC explained that Bittrex and Shihara “agreed to settle charges that they operated an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency.” Meanwhile, Bittrex Global “agreed to settle charges that it failed to register as a national securities exchange.” The securities watchdog stated that as part of the settlement, subject to court approval, the defendants consented to be permanently enjoined from violating the securities laws. 

Moreover, the SEC detailed: “Bittrex and Bittrex Global agreed to pay, on a joint and several basis, disgorgement of $14.4 million, prejudgment interest of $4 million, and a civil penalty of $5.6 million, for a total monetary payment of $24 million.” Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, commented: “For years, Bittrex worked with token issuers to ‘scrub’ their online statements of any indicia that they were investment contracts — all in an effort to evade the federal securities laws. They failed.”

Throughout this year, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated various enforcement actions against prominent cryptocurrency companies, including Binance and Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN). Coinbase, a crypto exchange listed on Nasdaq, recently attempted to have the charges against it dismissed, arguing that the SEC had exceeded its authorized jurisdiction. Reportedly, the regulatory body asked Coinbase to delist all cryptocurrencies except for bitcoin, aiming to align with securities regulations. 

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SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, criticized for his enforcement-focused approach to crypto industry regulation, asserts that all cryptocurrencies aside from bitcoin should be categorized as securities. He also notes the speculative nature and prevalence of fraud within the crypto domain. Furthermore, the SEC has unveiled its intention to appeal the ruling made by District Judge Analisa Torres in the Ripple case concerning XRP. The regulatory authority believes that certain aspects of the Ripple decision were wrongly determined, as stated by Gensler.

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