Popular crypto exchange Bittrex is terminating its services for the users based in seven countries, the most notable ones being Belarus and Ukraine. The other five countries are Burundi, Mali, Myanmar, Nicaragua, and Panama.
“For regulatory reasons, we, unfortunately, have to inform you that we are no longer able to provide services to customers who are residents of certain jurisdictions,” the exchange stated in a notification sent to its customers.
Though Bittrex highlighted that its services will be halted for the mentioned countries within the next fourteen days, for some customers it took an immediate effect. Additionally, it detailed that all fiat deposits have been terminated and asked clients to withdraw funds within the next fourteen days.
“After that time, we will need to disable any remaining accounts,” the exchange added, so it is not clear if the customers will be allowed to withdraw their holdings after the deadline.
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A Well-Thought Out Decision?
This is not the first such restrictions imposed by the exchange as last year it exited from 31 countries across the globe.
However, the inclusion of the two eastern European countries to this list is odd, given the increased adoption of digital currencies in both markets. Chainalysis, in a recent report, named Ukraine, Russia, and Venezuela as the top countries to adopt cryptocurrencies.
The blockchain analytics firm pointed out that though the US and China still lead in the volumes of cryptocurrency transactions, those numbers are mostly pumped by ‘whales’. On the contrary, these three countries saw a rise in the retail usage of crypto.
And given the ongoing political unrest in Belarus, the country also might see a spike in digital currency adoption. Furthermore, the recent heavy censorship on the country’s internet access resulted in a rise in the usage of virtual private networks (VPSs).