Bitfinex has announced the imminent suspension of its services to customers in Ontario

On January 14, Bitfinex announced the suspension of services to its customers in Ontario. Moreover, the exchange has instructed its Ontario customers to withdraw their funds by March 1.

Bitfinex withdraws from Ontario amid a major push against centralized exchanges

So they will close user accounts in Ontario at the beginning of March. Clients will have until that date to exit their positions and withdraw funds from the exchange. “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”, in its announcement, the exchange stated.

Canadian securities regulators have increased their scrutiny of custodial cryptocurrency exchanges, requiring them to register as a stock exchange or exit those respective provincial markets. Home to the largest stock exchange in the country, Ontario’s securities regulator has spearheaded these efforts.

Other policy changes are effective immediately. First, accounts in Ontario that have not been refunded will be closed immediately. Second, Ontario customers who do not have an existing open position in Bitfinex’s peer-to-peer funding markets will immediately lose access to those markets. Finally, margin positions will be immediately unavailable to Ontario customers who do not have open margin positions.

The “Important Notice” does not provide a reason for the sudden changes and suspensions in services.

The banning of services to Ontario residents by Bitfinex could be related to regulatory pressure, to which Bitfinex is no stranger. As far back as 2018, New York’s attorney general Letitia James brought a case against Tether and its parent company iFinex (also the parent company of Bitfinex), alleging Tether gave a $750 million loan to Bitfinex to help the exchange cover its losses. In February last year, Bitfinex paid back that loan in full. However, in October 2021, Bitfinex was ordered by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to pay $1.5 million in fines for engaging in illegal transactions and failing to register correctly as a Futures Commission Merchant among other wrongdoings.

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