Bitfinex, a cryptocurrency exchange, has requested its Ontario customers to withdraw their funds because they will lose access to all Bitfinex operations in March.
Bitfinex announced on Friday that it is implementing changes to the services it offers to consumers in Ontario.
Binance, OKEx, Bybit, KuCoin, and Polo Digital Assets are among the crypto exchanges that have come under scrutiny by the Ontario Securities Commission. However the reason for Bitfinex’s closure in Ontario is unknown, customers are advised to withdraw their money.
Customers from Ontario who have no balances on Bitfinex’s platform will have their accounts closed immediately, according to Bitfinex. It is also intended to limit access to those without open positions in the exchange’s peer-to-peer financing sector or open marginal positions.
Customers in Ontario, which includes Toronto and the nation’s capital province of Ottawa, who have funds or open positions on Bitfinex will no longer be allowed to access any services as of March 1. Customers were recommended to remove funds prior to the actual effective date by the exchange.
Why was this suspension imposed?
Regarding these abrupt adjustments and suspensions, the exchange could not explain why it took these actions on its advice.
The Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, has been accountable for cracking down on cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the region, which include Bybit, OKEx, KuCoin, and Polo Digital Assets, however, Bitfinex did not mention it.
The Ontario Securities Commission recently informed Binance that it was still not licensed in the jurisdiction after the exchange informed clients that it was reconsidering an earlier order to freeze their accounts. Binance later stated that there was a “misunderstanding” throughout the process and that it is their top priority to communicate with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) and will strive to address this confusion as soon as possible.
Bitfinex has not answered to a query for more details, and the Ontario Securities Commission has neglected to speak on its decision.
Bitfinex has received a lot of press attention in recent years. The exchange was hacked back in 2015, resulting in a loss of approximately $400,000 in Bitcoin value. A year later, Regulators in the United States have also targeted Bitfinex. Bitfinex and its sibling company Tether were fined $42.5 million by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in October for allegedly enabling “unlawful, off-exchange retail commodity dealings in virtual currencies with US individuals.”
Bitfinex also suffered a security breach in the same year, resulting in the theft of over 100,000BTC. U.S. Bank Wells Fargo reportedly halted wire transfers due to a deterioration in banking relationships.
Bitfinex’s move to quit serving Ontario residents could potentially be the result of regulatory influence, which Bitfinex is no stranger to. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Tether and its parent business iFinex (which is also the parent organization of Bitfinex) in 2018, saying that Tether offered Bitfinex a $750 million mortgage to assist the exchange to overcome its losses. It repaid the loan in full in February of last year.