BitMEX, the top derivatives exchange in the crypto industry, is currently facing a fraud scandal that could threaten its future. Hoping to present an organized front, the firm is now designating new leadership positions to company officials.
Shedding the Bad Publicity
Earlier today, 100x Group, the derivatives exchange’s operator, announced that three of its top executives including the CEO have stepped down. The men – Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed, and Ben Delo – previously served on BitMEX’s board, with Hayes being the company’s CEO. In light of recent allegations, however, they will be voluntarily stepping down.
100x Group also confirmed that Gregory Dwyer, BitMEX’s Head of Business Development, also got roped in the case and will leave absence. It’s unclear how long the leave will run.
Replacing Hayes will be Vivien Khoo, 100x Group’s Chief Operations Officer up to this point. Khoo is bringing a wealth of tech and banking experience, serving as the Managing Director of Asia-Pacific Compliance for banking giant Goldman Sachs. She’s also worked at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.
The company has also tapped Commercial Director Ben Radclyffe to handle client relationships and oversight of financial products. In a comment, David Wong, Chair of the 100x Group, expressed confidence in the leadership team’s ability to steer the company in the right direction. He thanked clients for their continued support, assuring them that BitMEX will continue to carry out business as usual.
U.S Government Pushing BitMEX
While Wong and the rest of 100x Group’s leadership are putting up a brave face, it seems pretty clear that BitMEX’s troubles are only beginning. The exchange got into trouble earlier this month, when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued it for operating an unregistered trading platform and violating Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations.
A complaint filed with the Southern District of New York named the four executives and five other business entities. The affected entities were HDR Global Services (Bermuda) Limited (BitMEX), ABS Global Trading Limited, HRD Global Trading Limited, Shine Effort Inc., and 100x Holding Limited. It highlighted that BitMEX had offered illegal leverage trading to the tune of $1 trillion since its inception in 2014.
The agency also highlighted the exchange’s weak security protocols, including a failure to register with appropriate authorities and a lack of AML and KYC protocol. It is seeking civil monetary penalties, disgorgement, permanent trading bans, and injunctions against future violations.
While it is smart to immediately purge the company of the embattled executives, there’s a sense that this might be coming too late. BitMEX has always come under scrutiny for its leverage trading options, but this indictment is doing much damage.
Glassnode reported over the weekend that traders had withdrawn about 45,000 BTC (worth about $420 million) from the exchange since the case became public. Open options on its Bitcoin futures also took a 20 percent hit, per data from Skew Markets.
The exchange has gone down on CoinMarketCap’s ranking of derivatives platforms, now trailing OKEx, Huobi, and Binance. There’s a sense that BitMEX’s troubles might just be starting.