The Bermuda government has awarded Bittrex Inc., a Seattle-based cryptocurrency exchange that lets users swap nearly 200 digital assets, a formal license under their Digital Assets Business Act of 2018 (DABA).
Bittrex is in the process of opening a Bermuda office and intends to hire up to three people in 2020 with plans for further hires as the business grows. From its Bermuda hub, Bittrex will offer additional digital asset services over time subject to further approval by the BMA, such as futures.
“Adding the Bermuda regulated exchange means more people can work with Bittrex Global to invest, trade and expand their portfolios in a fully compliant and well-regulated environment,” said Stephen Stonberg, Bittrex Global’s (Bermuda) Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.
British Overseas Territory grants the so-called ‘Class F (‘Full’) DABA’ license to digital asset exchanges, as well as crypto platforms, e-wallets and other operators of similar structures. The approved applicants work under the Digital Asset Business Act 2018, and the supervision of Bermuda’s primary regulator, the Bermuda Monetary Authority (BMA).
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The legislation was obviously designed to attract cryptocurrency entrepreneurs, who are moving businesses to locations more welcoming as they face intensifying scrutiny from regulators across the globe.
Bittrex Stops Offering Its Services in Belarus and Ukraine
Additionally, Bermuda hopes the embracing of blockchain firms would create a booming new revenue source while assuring startups their project will not fall subject to restrictive regulations.
“Attracting Bittrex Global to Bermuda is a significant achievement. As one of the leading global exchanges, Bittrex Global’s choice of Bermuda for expanding their global operations is a testament to the attractiveness of Bermuda’s approach. Thanks to the progressiveness of the Bermuda Government and the Bermuda Monetary Authority, Bermuda offers the ideal regulatory clarity and flexibility to allow Bittrex Global to innovate quickly,” said Bermuda Premier, David Burt.
The launch of Bittrex’s new subsidiary in Bermuda comes barely three weeks after it terminated its services for the users based in seven jurisdictions. The platform has informed users from Belarus and Ukraine, Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and Panama they can no longer make deposits and asked them to withdraw their balances within two weeks.
Earlier in 2019, the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has rejected granting its BitLicense to Bittrex, citing deficiencies in its AML rules and compliance program, as well as due diligence and controls over its token and product launches. The state regulator added that Bittrex failed to “demonstrate that it will conduct its business honestly, fairly, equitably, carefully, and efficiently.”