Goodbye America: Bitfinex to Block All US Customers
Bitfinex will shut its exchange to all U.S. customers from 9th November 2017. The closure applies to all services, and the company is advising users to withdraw all balances before that date.
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To reiterate: U.S. based customers will no longer be able to deposit, trade, or withdraw — and that applies to both fiat and digital assets.
Bitfinex continues to rank as the world’s #1 or #2 busiest exchange by total trade volumes on CoinMarketCap. In the past 24 hours it has processed $182.5 million in BTC/USD trades.
US Customers With Bitfinex Recovery Tokens Must Sell
Those holding the company‘s Recovery Right Tokens (RRTs) will now have the option to sell them all on the exchange starting 27th October. They may not purchase any new RRTs. Any verified U.S. users still holding RRTs after the closure date will have to arrange individual OTC sales with Bitfinex.
RRTs represent equity in iFinex, Inc., which in turn came from “BFX” tokens the exchange created to compensate users after its July 2016 hack.
Under the original RRT sale terms and conditions, traders were not allowed to completely sell their stakes — but Bitfinex needed has altered the rules to accommodate the closure.
Gradually Reducing US Business
Blocking U.S. business shouldn’t come as a huge surprise — Bitfinex has been gradually reducing the number of services available in the U.S. since August. The company cited banking difficulties and a “more challenging” regulatory landscape as its primary reasons.
At the time, it said:
We have for some time considered pulling away from the retail marketplace in the U.S., and now with a current backlog of verification requests and ongoing difficulties in providing USD deposit and withdrawals for U.S. individuals, we feel that the time has come to begin disengaging from U.S. retail customers.
Its August announcement added that a “surprisingly small percentage” of its revenues came from the U.S. anyway, and the company is not located there.
U.S. customers were also barred from trading Ethereum-based ERC20 tokens related to ICO sales. Due to securities regulations and the legally-unproven status of ICO assets, many projects block U.S. investors in a similar way.
Bitfinex has suffered bank-related problems for much of 2017. Its major U.S. partner Wells Fargo suspended wire transfers and froze $180 million of the company’s assets in April.
Since then, it has struggled to form new relationships, and now appears to be concentrating on non-U.S. markets instead.
Are you a U.S. customer? What do you think of this news? Let’s hear your thoughts.
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