KuCoin exchange banned in Canada over regulatory violations

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) has banned KuCoin exchange from offering its services in the province, claiming it operated an unregistered digital asset trading platform. It also slapped Bybit exchange with a $1.9 million fine for similar violations.

The OSC has waged war against unregistered digital asset exchanges for years now, with some of the casualties including major exchanges such as BinancePoloniexOKEx, and Bitfinex. It first announced actions against KuCoin and Bybit in June last year and has been going after them since then.

And as it announced in a press release, the regulator finally had its way. 

OSC revealed that a panel of the Capital Markets Tribunal had approved its enforcement actions against the two exchanges. The regulator was a bit lenient with Bybit, a derivatives exchange, slapping it with a C$2.5 million (US$1.9 million) fine for failing to comply with the securities laws. 

According to the watchdog, once it informed Bybit of its offenses, the exchange responded to the action, maintained an open dialogue, serviced it with the required information, and committed to engaging in registration discussions. It also pledged to disgorge $2,468,910 while committing to abide by the OSC’s guidelines.

As it awaits registration, Bybit will not open new accounts in Ontario, offer any new products to existing clients or advertise its services. It will also require its clients to wind down their positions in certain restricted products.

KuCoin wasn’t as committed to the OSC’s process and reportedly refused to supply the regulator with the requested information. As a result, it has been permanently banned from participating in Ontario’s capital markets and had to pay the $1.9 million fine and a further $75,000 towards the costs of the OSC’s investigation.

“Foreign crypto asset trading platforms that want to operate in Ontario must play by the rules or face enforcement action. The outcomes announced today should serve as a clear indication that we refuse to tolerate non-compliance with Ontario securities law,” said Jeff Kehoe, Director of Enforcement at the OSC. 

OSC, which oversees the securities industry in Canada’s most populous province, has been stringent with digital asset exchanges and has spared no effort while going after the rogue ones. This has seen even the largest exchanges shut down operations in the province, from BitMEX to OKEx.

Binance was one of the targets of the regulator, as it so often is. It was ordered to shut down operations and claimed it would by the end of 2021. However, it was later discovered to be lying and even blatantly claiming it didn’t need approval from the OSC. In March this year, the regulator went after Binance once again, and it had no option but to shut down operations for real this time.

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