Bittrex Responds to SEC Lawsuit, Says Gensler on Anti-Innovation “Crusade”
Several hours after the SEC complaint against the cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex was unveiled on Monday, April 17th, the company issued its retort to the agency’s latest action. The response expresses disappointment with the lawsuit and accuses the Commission’s Chair, Gary Gensler, of being on a “crusade” to drive cryptocurrencies out of the United States—a warpath that will, Bittrex warns, ultimately drive innovation out of the country.
Bittrex Says Gensler on a Crusade Against Crypto
On Monday afternoon, Bittrex, a cryptocurrency exchange, published its retort to the recent SEC enforcement action against it. According to Bittrex, the Securities and Exchange Commission under Gary Gensler is on a “crusade” with the intention to drive cryptocurrencies out of the US. In the exchange’s view, this approach will, in turn, significantly stifle innovation—particularly blockchain innovation—in the country.
The warning echoes similar comments heard over the previous months both from within and from without the SEC. Commissioner Hester Peirce voiced a similar concern in her many statements issued after notable actions of her agency, including the settlement with Kraken, and, more recently, the reopening of the comment period for proposed amendments to the Exchange Act. Additionally, after receiving a Wells notice warning of a possible enforcement action, Coinbase started warning that the SEC is driving innovation out of America.
Speaking about the complaint itself, Bittrex stated that it has never offered or traded securities, or other investment contracts. The exchange also claims it has, on multiple occasions, asked the SEC for guidance on which of the listed assets—if any—are viewed as unregistered securities but never received an answer. It concluded by saying that Monday’s action will ultimately harm Bittrex’s customers, employees, and the wider digital assets industry.
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SEC Sues Bittrex After The Company Announced Its Exit From the US
The timing of the SEC complaint which was unveiled on Monday, April 17th, has already been described by some as peculiar. Several weeks earlier, in late March, Bittrex notified its US customers that it will be closing its operations in the States on April 30th. At the time, Bittrex specifically cited the current regulatory climate as the chief reason for its departure.
As for the complaint itself, the Commission alleged not only that Bittrex was operating “an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency,” but also that it conspired with other cryptocurrency companies to delete the records of potentially “problematic statements”. In the agency’s press release, Gensler reiterated his already-established stance that the digital assets industry is generally not compliant.
The increased pressure coming from the SEC and other US regulators have already forced several companies out of the US and sparked concerns that other will follow suit. Already in late 2022, the UK-based Nexo announced it would soon wind down its operations in America and described the country’s regulatory landscape as “inconsistent and changing”.
Do you think the SEC is making a concerted effort to drive cryptocurrency companies out of the US? Let us know in the comments below.