Bittrex to Shut Down U.S. Platform

Cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex will close its U.S. platform on April 30, according to an announcement from the company on Friday. After nine years of operation, Bittrex co-founder and CEO Ritchie Lai stated that the current U.S. regulatory and economic environment made it “economically unviable” for the exchange to continue operating in the country.

Lai cited unclear regulatory requirements that are enforced without appropriate discussion or input, resulting in an uneven competitive landscape as the reasons behind the closure. He added that operating in the U.S. was no longer feasible for Bittrex.

Despite the shutdown of its U.S. platform, Lai assured customers that all their funds are safe and available for withdrawal. The closure will not affect Bittrex Global, which operates in Europe, Canada, and South America, among other locales, and will remain open for trading.

Bittrex’s decision to shut down its U.S. platform is not the first time a crypto exchange has faced regulatory hurdles. In recent weeks and months, U.S. regulators have increased their oversight of crypto-related companies. Coinbase recently disclosed receiving a Wells Notice from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), while Kraken paid a $30 million fine in a settlement with the same agency after shuttering its crypto staking service.

Binance and its CEO and founder Changpeng Zhao were also recently named in a complaint filed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The complaint alleges the offering of unregistered crypto derivatives products in the U.S.

The crypto industry has been grappling with regulatory challenges in the U.S., with some companies choosing to exit the market altogether. However, other companies, like Bittrex Global, continue to operate and expand their reach in other parts of the world.

Bittrex Global operates in over 100 countries and recently launched a new platform for institutional investors. The exchange’s closure of its U.S. platform may be a strategic decision to focus on expanding its operations elsewhere.

The crypto industry is still in its early stages, and regulatory challenges are expected to persist. The industry’s stakeholders will need to work with regulators to find a balance between innovation and compliance to ensure the healthy growth of the industry.


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Crypto Market To Drop 80% Like Early Internet Company Stocks?, Why This Analyst Thinks So

The crypto market cap has recently begun to recover regaining $2 trillion. However, an analyst thinks a bear call could be in place given several similarities between the dot-com bubble in 2000 and the current crypto market.

Related Reading | Crypto Market Cap Regained $2 Trillion With Bitcoin Reaching At $45K

Crypto Mirrors The Internet. Good Or Bad News?

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Recent studies show that the adoption curve of cryptocurrencies is looking similar to the early adoption of the internet around 1993, which could point in at a hyper-inflection point to happen soon where crypto and its related technologies become a regular tool used in everyone’s day-to-day lives. This could call for demand to increase and value to rise with it.

However, an analyst predicts that similarities with the internet could turn into a repetition in history where the crypto market would drop around 80% as the Nasdaq did back in 2000 amidst the dotcom bubble, a result of speculative investments and an overabundance of capital markets funding dotcom startups that later failed to make a return.

Investopedia explains that the dotcom bubble “was a rapid rise in U.S. technology stock equity valuations fueled by investments in Internet-based companies in the late 1990s.” The Nasdaq rose five-fold between 1995 and 2000, but then dropped reaching almost 77% in losses by Oct. 4, 2002.

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“Even the share prices of blue-chip technology stocks like Cisco, Intel, and Oracle lost more than 80% of their value. It would take 15 years for the Nasdaq to regain its peak, which it did on April 24, 2015.”

Analyst Tasha Che shared via Twitter a take that traces the possibility for the crypto market to enter an extended bear market with a similar drop to the Nasdaq’s in the 2000s. Che sees these main similarities:

  • By 2000, the internet had a user base of 413 million people, around 6% of the world’s population. Nowadays, around 60% of the global population is using the internet, says Internet World Stats. In parallel, recent data collected by the GWI indicates that 10% of working-age internet users own some form of cryptocurrency, roughly 6% of the current world’s population as well.Ownership of Cryptocurrency by Age and Gender January 2022 DataReportal
  •  Both markets had a multi-year bull run due to the hype over “breakthrough tech” while being “thinly supported by actual use cases”.
  • “Monetary policy headwind”. In a similar macroeconomic scenario, in 2000 The Federal Reserve lifted 6 rate hikes by quarter-point in 1 year in an effort to slow down the rising prices of goods and services.
  • “In 2000 Bloomberg Internet Index reached a peak market cap of $2.9 trillion (about $3.5 trillion to today’s dollars)”, which then fell to $1,2 trillion by the end of the same year. Chen believes that “Given internet stocks back then cover wider subsectors than crypto today, a $2.5-3 trillion market cap would put crypto at par w/ dot-com valuation then.”
Crypto total market cap at $1,9 trillion in the daily chart | Source:

The expert further noted that the two years that Nasdaq dropped 80%, “It was blessing in disguise for internet industry–weeded out opportunists, gave real builders breathing room to build & allowed organic growth. But absolutely brutal for investors.”

Chen states that this opinion is not “a straight bear call” given that “history doesn’t repeat blow by blow”, but with such a similar setup she thinks it may be “in the cards”. The missing factor is a blow-off top, which is defined as “a sudden rise in price and volume, followed by a sharp decline in price also with high volume.”

If that blow-off top happens in the next few months by going back to the $3 trillion cryptos total market cap range, Chen thinks we would “almost surely see history rhymes.”

Related Reading | Crypto Winter Is Thawing With Bitcoin And Ethereum Rebound Signal

The Opposite View

However, other users pointed out that Chen’s data does not properly take into account the nearly 5x M2 money supply increase over the last 20 years, which has risen from $4.6 trillion in 2000 to $18.45 trillion in 2020.

Another user noted that the two markets may not be systemically correlated outside of sentiment given that the Internet speculation in 2000 gave foot to the overly inflated market, but the now speculation in crypto could be seen as “a parallel liquid market.”

It was also pointed out that crypto represents a different case due to the assets being more reflexive. Growth in usage can reflect in price and increases in price can lead to usage. However, the dotcom bubble did not slow down internet usage as “nobody needed to buy AMZN to use Amazon.”


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New Hampshire Governor issues executive order establishing commission to study crypto

Chris Sununu, who has served as the Governor of New Hampshire since 2017, has established a commission aimed at investigating the technology and laws around digital assets in addition to recommending new legislation.

On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Governor’s office announced it would be issuing Executive Order 2022-1 to create the Governor’s Commission on Cryptocurrencies and Digital Assets. Governor Sununu cited the “rising use and acceptance” of crypto as well as the growth of distributed ledger and blockchain technologies in his decision to establish the commission.

According to the executive order, the crypto commission will have 180 days — until Aug. 8 — to submit a report to officials within the New Hampshire state government consisting of a “review and investigation regarding the current status of the cryptocurrency and digital asset industry” as well as on applicable laws in the United States and abroad. The commission will have the authority to hold public hearings to hear from industry and regulatory experts, and “make findings and determinations regarding the role and effectiveness of current state laws and regulations governing cryptocurrencies and other digital assets” while balancing economic competitiveness, the possible impacts on the financial system, and privacy concerns.

The order states that the commission will consist of “three public members with recognized experience with cryptocurrencies, digital assets and the provision of services to institutions or consumers with respect to digital assets,” the state Attorney General, Commissioner of the Bank Department, a state senator, a state representative, a representative of the New Hampshire Bankers Association, a representative of the Cooperative Credit Union Association, and three appointees. The New Hampshire Governor also has the authority to designate his own substitutes for most of the commission members.

Governor Sununu cited “well intentioned legislation regarding cryptocurrencies and digital assets” in the order, likely referring to a bill proposing state agencies be allowed to accept crypto for tax payments — the legislation failed in 2020, with many lawmakers invoking the volatility of Bitcoin (BTC). The governor also named Ether (ETH), Binance Coin (BNB), Tether (USDT), and USD Coin (USDC) as tokens quickly “gaining momentum.”

“New Hampshire is a hub of financial innovation, and this Executive Order will further our commitment to attracting high quality banking and financial businesses in a safe and responsible manner,” said Governor Sununu.

Related: US lawmaker pushes for state-level regulations on stablecoins at hearing on digital assets

Possibly due to the lack of a clear regulatory framework at the federal level, lawmakers in U.S. states seem to be stepping up legislative proposals to recognize, invest in, or otherwise handle crypto and blockchain. In December, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis offered a budget proposal suggesting local businesses be allowed to “pay state fees via cryptocurrency directly to the Department of State.” Earlier this month, a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives introduced legislation which would establish a study committee on crypto and blockchain.