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  • The company reached a settlement with the SEC in August.
  • Its international arm, Bittrex Global, continues to operate in other regions.

Bittrex has received court approval for its revised bankruptcy plan, marking the end of its U.S. operations. The approval was granted by Judge Brendan Shannon during a hearing held in Delaware.

This comes after Bittrex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May, a move prompted by charges from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accusing the exchange of running an unregistered trading platform.

The company reached a settlement with the SEC in August, agreeing to pay $24 million in penalties.

The court decision to approve Bittrex’s liquidation plan is a key step toward repaying the remaining creditors.

Notably, while Bittrex has halted its operations in the United States due to regulatory challenges, its international arm, Bittrex Global, continues to operate in other regions.

In August, Oliver Linch, the CEO of Bittrex Global, assured those concerned about any connections to the U.S., given the regulatory uncertainty in the region, that the exchange remains open for business, particularly for those interested in dealing with a non-U.S. regulated digital assets platform.

Winding down U.S. business after SEC settlement

This development marks a significant shift from Bittrex’s position as one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the United States.

At the beginning of 2018, Bittrex boasted a substantial market share, representing nearly 23% of USD trading volume.

However, the exchange’s standing dwindled significantly over the years. By 2021, its market share had declined to below 1%, and it has struggled to regain its former position.

SEC swoop on crypto exchanges sums up regulation in the U.S.

Owing to the lack of regulatory clarity in the U.S. for crypto companies, the SEC has been on a coordinated crackdown on exchanges.

In June 2023, the SEC charged Coinbase with unlawfully operating as an unregistered national securities exchange, broker, and clearing agency. The SEC claimed that Coinbase has combined these traditional financial functions without the required registration.

Furthermore, the agency claimed that Coinbase engaged in an unregistered securities offering through its staking-as-a-service program. This allowed customers to earn profits from blockchain transaction validation services.

The SEC also charged Binance [BNB], Binance’s U.S.-based affiliate BAM Trading Services Inc., and their founder, Changpeng Zhao, with multiple securities law violations.

The SEC alleged that Binance and Zhao publicly claimed to restrict U.S. customers while secretly allowing high-value U.S. customers to trade on Binance behind the scenes. The complaint further added that Zhao and Binance commingled customer assets, manipulated trading volumes, and diverted assets to an entity owned by Zhao.

Both Binance and Coinbase have slammed the SEC for their respective charges. The lack of clear regulations and SEC’s crackdown has led to many exchanges relocating to crypto friendly locations.

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