US authorities on Thursday charged the founders of BitMEX, a major cryptocurrency exchange, with wilfully failing to prevent money laundering and operating an unregistered trading platform.
The charges are the latest in a years-long effort by the US to crackdown on a cryptocurrency market that was once largely unregulated but has moved more and more under the purview of governments.
BitMEX, which is owned by a parent entity in the Seychelles, was founded in 2014 by Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo and Samuel Reed. The exchange promises customers the opportunity to trade with up to 100 times leverage.
The Department of Justice brought criminal charges against the trio for violating rules under the Bank Secrecy Act that require financial institutions to maintain anti-money laundering controls. Prosecutors also charged Gregory Dwyer, who was BitMEX’s first employee.
Audrey Strauss, the acting Manhattan US attorney, said the four men “undertook to operate a purportedly