Today, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) instituted a lawsuit against Bittrex, a renowned crypto exchange. In a latest Twitter post, the regulator accused the crypto exchange of running an unregistered exchange in the country.
The U.S SEC also dragged former CEO of Bittrex, William Shihara into the lawsuit. He was alleged to have supervised the running of an unregistered national securities exchange, broker and clearing agency. Furthermore, the agency charged the exchange foreign affiliate identified as Bittrex Global GmbH for its failure to register as a national securities exchange.
Since 2014, Bittrex operated as a platform that enables buying and selling of crypto assets. However, the SEC in its complaints described the activities as trading of securities. Between 2017- 2022, Bittrex secured about $1.3 billion worth of revenue from its trading activities and offerings to investors. The agency claimed the exchange rendered these services without its approval.
Additionally, SEC accused Bittrex and its CEO of conniving with some issuers to delete problematic statements about their assets listed on its site. According to the regulator, Bittrex did this to prevent regulator from investigating the assets running on it’s network. It alleged that some of the deleted information include price prediction of the assets, profit expectations and other necessary investment data.
Bittrex ought to register before running as a broker and clearing agency – SEC
According to SEC filing, Bittrex ought to register as a clearing agency because it runs as an intermediary in making payments and serving as a custodian of users’ assets. More so, the U.S regulator said the crypto platform should have also registered as a broker. This, according to its filing, is because the firm also carries out transactions for accounts of others in cryptocurrencies that are offered as securities. Now, the agency wants the Court to inflict severe punishments on the firm and its CEO, Shihara for the violations.
It is noteworthy that Daphna Waxman and Pamela Sawhney investigated the alleged illegalities levelled against Bittrex. The duo serves in the division of enforcement’s crypto assets and Cyber Unit. Meanwhile, Mark Sylvester, Jorge Tenreiro and David Hirsch supervised the investigation against the crypto firm.