Bitfinex withdraws from Ontario amid major push against centralized exchanges

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On January 14, Bitfinex announced that it will close user accounts in Ontario at the beginning of March. In its announcement, the exchange wrote:

“Starting on March 1, 2022, Ontario customers will no longer have access to any Services. Any Ontario customers who have open positions in our peer-to-peer financing markets are advised to immediately start exiting those positions in preparation for March 1, 2022.”

Canadian securities regulators have been increasing oversight of custodial cryptocurrency exchanges, requiring them to register as securities exchanges or exit those respective provincial markets. As home to the largest equities market in the country, Ontario’s securities regulator has spearheaded these efforts. 

In August, The Block reported that the first two crypto platforms to receive the go-ahead from the Ontario Securities Commission had been barred from trading Tether, the operator of which shares a parent company with Bitfinex, iFinex.

The two companies are no strangers to legal troubles. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently fined them, and they are still fighting to keep the New York Attorney General from handing over details of the NYAG’s case against Tether and Bitfinex to CoinDesk. 

At the end of December, the OSC accused Binance of misleading users in Ontario as to the exchange’s continued right to operate in the region. Binance later amended its statement to users. 

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