American cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex today announced that it would wind down its U.S. operations.
In a Friday statement, the exchange said that customer funds were safe and should be withdrawn by April 30, while trading will continue for clients until April 14.
The statement added that it would continue operating its Bittrex Global platform—which caters to traders outside of the States.
Bittrex co-founder and CEO Richie Lai said on Twitter that it was not "economically viable" to continue to run the exchange in the "current U.S. regulatory and economic environment."
Thank you everyone.... <3 ;( pic.twitter.com/kq8nTRT0Aj
— Richie Lai (@richiela) March 31, 2023
"Regulatory requirements are often unclear and enforced without appropriate discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive landscape," he said.
Founded in 2013, Bittrex is a small Seattle-based company. It is the 71st largest digital asset exchange, with a 24-hour trading volume of just $11.7 million, according to CoinGecko. That's less than even some decentralized exchanges, such as Uniswap, Pankcakeswap, and Orca.
Bittrex's announcement comes as U.S. regulators launch perhaps the toughest crackdown on the crypto industry yet.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has hit a number of American crypto companies with fines—including popular Kraken last month.
Last week, it issued a Wells Notice to the biggest crypto exchange in the U.S., publicly traded Coinbase, because that the San-Francisco-based firm's staking products allegedly constitute unregistered securities. The notice means an enforcement action is likely around the corner.
On Monday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) sued Binance, the world's biggest crypto exchange, because that the massive company allegedly violated trading and derivatives rules.
Last year, Bittrex agreed to pay $29 million to settle enforcement cases with U.S. authorities for "apparent violations" of sanctions against countries including Iran, Cuba and Syria.