Business

Derek Tonin

Bittrex tries to show it never had North Korean customers

Bittrex can’t be happy that it was recently denied a BitLicense, but it’s not going to let its reputation get sullied if it can help it. The exchange has taken to twitter once again to defend its business practices, and specifically whether or not it was allowing North Koreans to make accounts on the platform.

In an April 22 tweet, Bittrex denied the idea that any North Korean traders had made accounts and traded on the platform. This idea stems from the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS), which recently denied the exchange a BitLicense, partly over worries about how the company was operating and its approaching to anti-money laundering (AML), Know Your Customer (KYC) and Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) standards.

Defending itself against the accusation, Bittrex stated the two accounts that appeared to be North Korean were actually South Korean, but had selected the wrong country in the registration dropdown menu.

These accounts were created and investigated as far back as October 2017, which should have made a difference in the NYDFS’ conclusion. It can be argued though that their concerns over operational execution are still valid; if Bittrex really was running a tight ship, their registration forms could easily deny an account from being created from North Korea.

Bittrex has also incurred bad press in the past for their policies over funds sent to incorrect addresses. One user reported losing 57 Bitcoin SV (BSV), for which Bittrex refused to help, citing their existing policies.

Reaction to Bittrex’s new defense are mixed, with many fans of the exchange calling out the NYDFS for corruption, speculating that the agency only gives BitLicenses to businesses backed by big banks. Another user pointed out that even if the exchange might be innocent in this case, they offer altcoins that are widely considered scams, and speculated that the NYDFS’ conclusions were valid based on information we may not know yet.

Regardless of this new information, Bittrex still doesn’t have a New York BitLicense. That means the exchange must cease operations in New York within 60 days of the April 11th decision to deny it that license, and help all of its customers in that state withdraw their funds.

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