Crypto exchange Bittrex has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. state of Delaware, after previously announcing its intention to wind down operations in the country. The move comes just weeks after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sued the exchange for allegedly operating a national securities exchange, broker and clearing agency. The company believes it has over 100,000 creditors, with estimated liabilities and assets both in the range of $500 million to $1 billion.
Bittrex Inc., along with two other entities, Bittrex Malta Ltd. and Bittrex Malta Holdings Ltd., filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Bittrex Global, however, will not be impacted by the filing. The exchange’s spokesperson confirmed that the bankruptcy announcement does not affect Bittrex Global, which will continue to operate normally for its customers outside of the U.S.
Bittrex was once one of the largest exchanges in the U.S.
With a market share of nearly 23% at the beginning of 2018, Bittrex was one of the biggest exchanges in the U.S., according to data from The Block. However, it has collapsed to below 1% in 2021 and hasn’t recovered since. Despite the exchange’s plan to exit the U.S., the SEC sued Bittrex and former CEO Bill Shihara in mid-April. Oliver Linch, Bittrex Global CEO, had stated that the exchange intended to fight the charges in court, but the bankruptcy proceeding may make this more difficult.
Bittrex’s bankruptcy filing follows fellow crypto exchange FTX and several lenders like Celsius, Voyager, and BlockFi, who have also filed for bankruptcy recently. The exchange’s spokesperson said that the company’s main priority is to ensure that its customers are made whole, and funds for those customers who did not withdraw their assets from the platform before the end of April remain safe and secure.