Crypto exchange BitMEX is closing trading accounts of clients in the United States and Quebec amid a global regulatory crackdown on unlicensed crypto exchanges, according to a South China Morning Post (SCMP) report. SCMP noted that this development came after BitMEX alerted users in North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Sudan, Crimea, and Sevastopol that they were also banned from holding positions or trading.
According to SCMP, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), Quebec’s financial watchdog, issued a notice to BitMEX in early 2018, ordering them to close all accounts in the province because they were not operating legally.
“BitMEX is not registered with the AMF and is therefore not authorized to have activities in the province of Quebec…We informed this company that its activities were illegal,” AMF’s director of media relations told SCMP.
SCMP’s report also estimated that U.S. users made up for around one-seventh of the exchange’s total user base and inferred that the decline in BitMEX’s trading volume was correlated to the recent removal of U.S. traders.
However, BitMEX has denied all allegations, saying that there are major inaccuracies in SCMP’s report, according to Cointelegraph Japan.
“BitMEX has banned all US traders since 2015, and has been proactively closing accounts since the guidance was obtained by US regulators, in particular, the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC),” said Joe Coufal, a representative for BitMEX.
BitMEX directed Cointelegraph Japan to their term’s of service, which Coufal said have always prohibited residents of the US and Quebec from holding accounts. They read:
“Residents of the United States of America or Québec (Canada) are prohibited from holding positions or entering into contracts at BitMEX. Residents of Cuba, Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and Sudan, or any other jurisdiction where the services offered by BitMEX are restricted are also prohibited.”
According to BitMEX, the only alerts that had been made were reminder pop-ups and banners on their website, restating their policy.