The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday charged crypto trading platform Bittrex Inc. and its co-founder and former CEO William Shihara with operating an unregistered securities exchange, the regulator said.
The SEC alleged that Bittrex earned at least $1.3 billion in revenue between 2017 and 2022 serving U.S. investors as a broker, exchange and clearing agency without registering these activities with the Commission, in violation of the law.
“Today’s action, yet again, makes plain that the crypto markets suffer from a lack of regulatory compliance, not a lack of regulatory clarity,” said SEC Chair Gary Gensler, in a statement. “As alleged in our complaint, Bittrex and issuers that it worked with knew the rules that applied to them but went to great lengths to evade them.”
The SEC said former CEO Shihara, who ran the company from 2014 to 2019 earned $130 million in compensation from his time at Bittrex.