Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has agreed to settle charges with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Bittrex and Bittrex Global agreed to pay $24 million. The SEC’s director of enforcement alleged that for years, Bittrex worked with token issuers to “scrub” their online statements “to evade the federal securities laws.”
Bittrex Settles With SEC
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Thursday that crypto trading platform Bittrex Inc., its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara, and Bittrex’s foreign entity Bittrex Global GmbH have reached a settlement with the regulator. The SEC charged Bittrex entities and Shihara in April.
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.”
The SEC has taken several enforcement actions against major crypto firms this year, including and Coinbase (Nasdaq: COIN). The Nasdaq-listed crypto exchange Coinbase, which attempted to have the charges against it dismissed last week, claimed that the SEC “overstepped” its statutory authority. The regulator reportedly asked Coinbase to delist all crypto tokens except bitcoin in order to comply with securities laws. SEC Chairman Gary Gensler, who has been slammed for his enforcement-centric approach to regulating the crypto industry, believes that all crypto tokens except bitcoin are securities. He also said that crypto is a highly speculative field that is rife with fraud.
The SEC has also revealed its plan to appeal the Ripple decision made by District Judge Analisa Torres regarding XRP. The securities watchdog believes that some parts of the Ripple ruling are “wrongly decided,” according to Gensler.
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