Bittrex Global is closing its operations, as stated in their announcement on November 20. The crypto exchange, which was operational in Lichtenstein and Bermuda, has set December 4 as the deadline for all trading activities to cease on its platform.
Customers have been instructed to withdraw their funds by this date, with only certain types of withdrawals being processed thereafter.
The company has not provided an explicit reason for its shutdown, but it has informed users that payouts in US dollars will not be available. Clients are being directed to convert their funds into either cryptocurrency or euros to facilitate withdrawals. Bittrex Global has also ended its referral program and all promotional activities.
This shutdown appears to mirror the fate of its U.S. counterpart, which faced regulatory challenges earlier this year. In April, Bittrex US was targeted by the SEC, which accused the company of functioning as an unregistered securities exchange among other charges. The legal pressure led to Bittrex US filing for bankruptcy in May, with a court-approved bankruptcy plan allowing the sale of its U.S. assets in October.
The U.S. branch also settled with the SEC for $24 million in August. Despite these challenges, Bittrex Global’s CEO Oliver Linch had previously expressed intentions to contest the SEC’s allegations vigorously.
It is with great regret that we inform you that Bittrex Global has decided to wind down its operations.
Effective Monday 4 December 2023, all trading activity on Bittrex Global will be disabled. After that date, customers will only be able to withdraw assets as part of the…
— Bittrex Global (@BittrexGlobal) November 20, 2023
The SEC’s lawsuit against Bittrex was initially filed in April, accusing the company’s U.S. and overseas entities of running an illegal securities exchange, broker-dealer, and clearinghouse. The overseas entity was alleged to have failed to register as a national securities exchange.
As part of the settlement, Bittrex and Shihara accepted an order preventing them from violating U.S. securities laws.
The Seattle-based crypto exchange said the bankruptcy filing would not impact its global brand, Bittrex Global, which is based in Liechtenstein and serves non-US customers. The filing revealed that the exchange’s assets and liabilities were in the range of $500 million to $1 billion.
Bittrex stated that the assets of its US-based users are secure and safe, and the exchange plans to request a limited re-opening of their accounts to distribute the remaining balances back to its holders.
Bittrex had reportedly 600,000 active users in the US and another 600,000 unfunded customer accounts. According to a bankruptcy filing, 16 US-based customers still have at least $1 million in their accounts, with the biggest depositor holding $14.6 million in assets.
At the time of the announcement, Bittrex Global’s 24-hour spot trading volume was reported to be around $19.7 million. The platform’s closure follows a trend of regulatory pressures and market challenges facing crypto exchanges globally.