Seychelles-based cryptocurrency exchange BitMEX is reportedly being probed by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).
Updated (09:35 UTC): Added further details from Bloomberg’s full report.
The news appeared in brief on Bloomberg Terminal soon before press time on Friday. That was soon followed by a report from Bloomberg citing sources who said the regulator is investigating whether the exchange has allowed U.S. traders to use its platform.
The CFTC considers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin commodities and has jurisdiction over derivatives such as futures based on cryptos. As such, BitMEX would need to be registered with the agency to allow Americans to trade such products in the U.S.
According to its website, BitMEX offers trading of cryptocurrencies with up to 100-times leverage and other products such as futures and swaps.
Bloomberg said the CFTC investigation is “ongoing” and may not lead to misconduct allegations.
The report adds that the CFTC declined to comment when contacted.
Just days ago, noted economist and crypto skeptic Nouriel Roubini attacked BitMEX, saying it “may be openly involved in systematic illegality,” again according to Bloomberg.
Roubini argued that, in providing such high leverage, the platform is exposing traders to too much risk.
Reportedly citing an anonymous blog, he also allaged that the exchange trades against its own clients and “skirts” anti-money laundering regulations.
BitMEX CEO Arthur Hayes has previously said it never trades against clients.
Hayes also told Bloomberg this week:
“We continue to monitor all legal and regulatory developments around the world and will comply with all applicable laws and regulations; we reject any allegations of criminality, manipulation or unfair treatment of our customers, who are at the center of everything we do.”