the exchange violates the provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act

BitMEX, one of the most prominent cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, recently admitted to systematically violating the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) over the past five years.

The admission marks a turning point in cryptocurrency regulation, underscoring the importance of complying with anti-money laundering and know your customer (KYC) regulations.

The Pioneering Activity of the BitMEX Exchange and the Violation of the Bank Secrecy Act

Founded in 2014 by Arthur Hayes, Ben Delo, and Samuel Reed, BitMEX quickly became a dominant player in the cryptocurrency market, particularly in derivatives trading.

With its advanced platform and innovative products like perpetual swaps, the exchange has attracted millions of users and processed billions of dollars worth of transactions. However, its rapid growth and lack of strict regulation have allowed BitMEX to operate in a legal gray area.

The Bank Secrecy Act, passed in 1970, requires financial institutions in the United States to cooperate with the government to combat money laundering and other illegal financial activities. Violations of the BSA can result in serious consequences, including significant fines and criminal liability.

BitMEX has been accused of failing to implement adequate anti-money laundering (AML) and KYC controls, which allowed users to operate anonymously. This facilitated money laundering, illicit financing, and other criminal activities through the platform. The exchange also deliberately ignored US laws and regulations by continuing to serve customers in the United States without following the necessary registration and compliance procedures.

The investigation into the BitMEX exchange began in 2019 when the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the United States Department of Justice began investigating the exchange’s operations.

Authorities found that BitMEX did not have sufficient policies and procedures in place to detect and prevent illegal activities. Additionally, the platform allowed customers to register with minimal information, without properly verifying the identity of users.

In 2020, federal authorities formally charged BitMEX’s founders and other executives with violating the BSA and operating an unregistered money transmission business. The charges marked a turning point, showing that even cryptocurrency platforms must abide by traditional financial laws.

Consequences and impact on the sector

Following the allegations, BitMEX took significant corrective measures to improve compliance. The exchange implemented rigorous AML and KYC checks, working with authorities to ensure its operations were fully compliant with the law. However, the damage to its reputation and financial penalties were significant.

In 2022, BitMEX agreed to pay a $100 million fine to settle charges brought by the CFTC and U.S. financial regulators. In addition, the platform’s founders have faced personal criminal charges, with some convictions resulting in prison sentences and other monetary penalties.

The BitMEX case had a significant impact on the entire cryptocurrency sector. It highlighted the importance of compliance and implementing robust controls to prevent illegal activities. Other cryptocurrency exchanges and platforms began to strengthen their compliance measures to avoid similar sanctions.

In addition, the case has sparked increased interest from regulators around the world in monitoring and regulating the cryptocurrency sector. The need to balance innovation with compliance has become obvious, and many platforms are working to make their operations transparent and compliant with the law.


The finding of BitMEX guilty of violating the Bank Secrecy Act marks a turning point in cryptocurrency regulation.

This case serves as a cautionary tale for other platforms in the sector, highlighting the importance of complying with anti-money laundering and KYC regulations.

While the cryptocurrency sector continues to grow and innovate, regulatory compliance will continue to be a key element in ensuring the trust and security of users and global financial markets.