Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. a little over a month after announcing it will be leaving the country, the company said in a press release on 8 May.
According to a court filing shared on Twitter, the company believes to have more than 100,000 creditors, and between $500 million and $1 billion in both assets and liabilities. Filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, the Chapter 11 covers 4 companies connected to the exchange, namely Bittrex Inc., Bittrex Malta Ltd., Bittrex Malta Holdings, and Desolation Holdings LLC. The press release noted that:
“This announcement does not impact Bittrex Global, which will continue operations as normal for its customers outside the U.S. For those customers who did not withdraw their funds from the platform prior to the end of April, your funds remain safe and secure, and our main priority is to ensure that our customers are made whole.”
Bittrex’s bankruptcy filing came a little over a month after the exchange announced it had started winding down operations in the U.S., and that it was planning to shut down its platform in the country on 30 April. The reason behind its planned exit was that the regulatory requirements in the U.S. were “often unclear and enforced without appropriate discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive landscape”.
Half a month after announcing its plans to leave the country, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Bittrex and its former CEO William Shihara with securities violations, claiming that they were operating an unregistered securities exchange. The CEO of Bittrex Global, Oliver Linch, said the company intended to fight these charges in court, but this will be difficult considering the upcoming bankruptcy proceedings.