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CFTC slaps $75K penalty on Bitfinex over trading violations

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued an Order filing against Hong Kong-based bitcoin exchange Bitfinex, requiring it to pay a $75,000 civil monetary penalty.

The CFTC found that the exchange was offering illegal off-exchange financed retail commodity transactions in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, and failed to register as a Futures Commission Merchant (FCM) as required by the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA).

“The Order finds that from April 2013 to at least February 2016, Bitfinex permitted users to borrow funds from other users on the platform in order to trade bitcoins on a leveraged, margined, or financed basis. The Order also finds that Bitfinex did not actually deliver those bitcoins to the traders who purchased them. Instead, Bitfinex held the bitcoins in deposit wallets that it owned and controlled”, the official announcement reads.

Bitfinex neither accepted nor denied any of the findings or conclusions in the order and submitted an Offer of Settlement, which the CFTC accepted. In an online post, the company announced the settlement with the CFTC following the investigations into its financed trading activities. Bitfinex said that it has made significant changes to the way in which U.S. customers engage in financed trading on its platform.

“The CFTC has engaged in a productive, open, and timely dialogue with us, and, as a result, we believe we have a better understanding of the regulatory framework governing financed trading on our platform. The Division of Enforcement has demonstrated that, while they will work diligently to enforce existing rules even as they apply them to new markets, they also are sensitive to innovation and development in sectors that the CFTC regulates”, Bitfinex said.

The Order requires Bitfinex to pay a $75,000 civil monetary penalty and to cease and desist from future such violations of the CEA.

By Shampa Mani
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