Bittrex appears to be doing their honest best to please U.S. regulators while also doing right by their customers. The exchange has recently informed some customers that funds that may have been frozen due to U.S. sanctions will now be made available, if certain conditions are met.
News broke of these funds becoming available care of Twitter user Ziya Sadr on November 8:
It's been a few years that @BittrexExchange disabled Iranian accounts, froze their holdings and stayed silent on the subject.
Today, I (and many others) received an email saying that they will give back the holdings, under certain conditions pic.twitter.com/3dMkdLfF2H
— Ziya Sadr (@Ziya_Sadr) November 8, 2019
The root of the issue comes down to Bittrex being forced to suspend accounts with ties to Iran, Syria, Cuba, and Crimea in 2017. As each of these areas are sanctioned by the U.S. government for different reasons, but primarily because they are seen as perceived threats to U.S. security, not allowing cryptos to freely flow in and out of an American based exchange makes perfect sense.
Bittrex wrote in their letter:
In May of 2018, Bittrex filed an application to permit it to release the funds currently frozen back to the owners. This application was recently granted and we are writing to let you know that you may withdraw your funds to another exchange.
The unfrozen accounts must meet a key condition to have their funds withdrawn however: The hosted wallet or exchange they wish to withdraw to must not be in a U.S. sanctioned country. That makes a lot of sense, but for anyone actually based in those countries, it could cause an issue.
For those who don’t want to understand why their money must comply with the law, this was heartbreaking news.
This is why you should never use US based exchanges…
— Drunk Dog ✳️ (@dailydevism) November 9, 2019
This is a very sad experience, hope #decentralized technology finally fix this.
— Valerios Baglaridis (@walerikus) November 8, 2019
This looks like it will increasingly become the norm, as governments start applying rules that have always applied to fiat money to digital assets. Just as Iran has had a difficult time operating its banks in the face of U.S. regulations, compliant crypto exchanges, hoping to keep America happy with their businesses, will start following the same laws or risk getting shut down.
As Dr. Craig Wright recently warned, those defiantly operating outside the law will soon see their time run out. As he pointed out, even the most decentralized digital currency services were shut down once governments grew tired of their criminality.
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