The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has accused the cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex, Inc. and its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara of operating an unregistered national securities exchange, broker-dealer, and clearing agency.
According to the SEC’s allegations, Bittrex has not registered any of its activities with the Securities and Exchange Commission since 2014, and has generated at least $1.3 billion in revenue from transaction fees.
Additionally, the SEC has accused Bittrex Global GmbH of operating as a national securities exchange without registering as such, due to its involvement in operating a single shared order book with Bittrex.
The SEC’s complaint alleges that Bittrex and Shihara coordinated with issuers seeking to have their crypto assets listed on the Bittrex platform to make efforts to remove certain “problematic statements” from public channels, which the SEC claims could trigger an investigation by a regulator such as the SEC into the crypto asset as a security offering.
“This action today once again highlights that the crypto markets are suffering not from a lack of regulatory clarity, but from a lack of legal compliance“SEC Chairman Gary Gensler
Additionally, the SEC stated in the complaint that $OMG, $DASH, $ALGO, $TKN, $NGC, and $IHT were securities.
The case is being led by Christopher Carney, Ben Kuruvilla, Ms. Waxman, and Ms. Sawhney, and supervised by Ladan Stewart and Olivia Choe.