Connect with us


SEC Charges Bittrex & its Former CEO



The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Bittrex, a crypto asset trading platform, and its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara.

The SEC’s complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington against Bittrex, was for operating an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. It should be registered as a clearing agency because “it acted as an intermediary in making payments and deliveries upon matching sell and buy orders and maintained custody of customer assets,” SEC detailed in the complaint.

Also, Bittrex’s foreign affiliate, Bittrex Global GmbH, was charged for failing to register as a national securities exchange. Bittrex is a platform that facilitates the buying and selling of crypto assets and in the past few years has earned about $1.3 billion in revenues from its services. 

The crypto assets offered by Bittrex were alleged by the SEC to be securities. Also, SEC alleged that both Bittrex and the CEO of the firm as at 2014 to 2019 “coordinated with issuers who sought to have their crypto asset made available for trading on Bittrex’s platform to first delete from public channels certain “problematic statements” that Shihara believed would lead a regulator, such as the SEC, to investigate the crypto asset as the offering of a security.”

The problematic statements included statements related to “price prediction” “expectation of profit,” and other “investment related terms.”

Following the charges, the SEC Chair Gary Gensler said the move makes it obvious that “the crypto markets suffer from a lack of regulatory compliance, not a lack of regulatory clarity.”

As laid out in the complaint, Gurbir S. Grewal, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement mentioned that Bittrex’s business model was based on three things: 

  • Circumventing the registration requirements of the federal securities laws.
  • Counseling issuers of crypto asset securities to do the same as they have done by altering their offering materials. 
  • Combining multiple market intermediary functions under one roof to maximize profits. 

He added that Bittrex chose profits over investors protection and the charge should send a message to non-compliant crypto market intermediaries.

Earlier, Friday 31st of March 2023 Bittrex disclosed that it would be shutting down its operations in the United States. However, assured in the statement that customers’ assets are safe and they should be withdrawn before 30th April 2023. 

Read also;

Reserve block; Own NFTs on a P2P, gasless protocol

What do you think of this article? Share comments below.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Click to comment
0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Crypto News Update

Latest Episode on Inside Blockchain

Crypto Street



ALL Sections

Recent Posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x