This past week the United States Department of Justice and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) filed criminal and civil charges against BitMEX and it’s Executives for various offenses related to money laundering and not following regulations. It seemed like a sure thing that BitMEX would be quickly forced offline due to the heavy hand of the United States government, but as of now BitMEX is still online and operational, and in fact BitMEX has declared that they are not going to close and that all funds are safe.
Specifically, BitMEX has said that they have always sought to comply with United States laws, and will defend against these charges vigorously. More importantly, BitMEX says that all funds are safe and trading operations are continuing as normal.
Indeed, although traders withdrew 45,000 Bitcoins (BTC) from BitMEX, worth $470 million, over 150,000 Bitcoins worth $1.58 billion remain on BitMEX, and all signs are that BitMEX continues to have massive trading volume.
It is highly debatable as to whether BitMEX really did follow applicable United States laws, since BitMEX made it easy for users in the United States to login via a VPN, and indeed most crypto derivatives traders in the United States were doing exactly that.
On the other hand, it could be said that the blame lies with the traders who logged into BitMEX via a VPN, rather than BitMEX itself being responsible.
Zooming out, although it is quite possible that BitMEX will be seized in the coming days or weeks, for now most of the Executives remain uncaptured, and the private keys to BitMEX’s funds and the exchange itself remain out of the government’s hands as well. It remains to be seen how long this volatile situation will last.
That being said, some experts are speculating that BitMEX will not be shut down in the end, and will just be hit with heavy fines. What ultimately happens remains to be seen, and Crypto.IQ will continue to post updates as this situation evolves.