Cryptocurrency exchanges have been struggling to compete with traditional financial institutions for many years now, but this past year saw an explosion in the use of cryptocurrency as a means of exchange and as a form of payment.
In the US, Coinbase was the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the country, taking in over $1 billion in revenue in 2016.
And just last week, Kraken became the latest cryptocurrency exchange to see its share of the market drop.
While Kraken was not the first cryptocurrency exchange, its recent run up in price meant it was the most prominent, and some saw this as a positive sign.
But in 2018, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched a formal probe into the trading platforms and their trading practices, which found that some of them were engaged in deceptive practices.
The SEC said that many of the exchanges had “repeatedly violated SEC rules in violation of their fiduciary responsibilities to investors and investors’ interests by failing to disclose and disclose material information to them.”
And while the SEC concluded that Kraken did not violate these rules, the regulator has also recommended that the exchanges be fined up to $500,000 and that they cease to trade altogether.
The regulator said that Kraken’s failure to disclose these facts and disclose these violations of the rules “led to the substantial market price decline that resulted in the suspension of trading.”
That price drop is the reason why some cryptocurrency enthusiasts are calling for the exchanges to shut down.
And they are not alone.
Earlier this week, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched an investigation into cryptocurrency exchanges, calling them “unsuitable for trading” and asking them to “immediately cease trading”.
The UK regulator has already issued a warning to some cryptocurrency exchanges that they face fines of up to £30,000 ($44,500) and a ban on trading in the UK.
The FCA’s announcement comes on the heels of the SEC’s investigation into Kraken, which also came on the same day as the FCA announcement.
Meanwhile, the FCEA has warned that the price of the cryptocurrency could decline further in the coming months as the regulators investigation continues.
The agency also stated that the companies trading on the platforms “did not have adequate and adequate supervision and controls in place.”
Meanwhile, on Friday, the New York Stock Exchange announced it will also start regulating crypto-currencies.
The NYSE said in a statement that it is launching an investigation of its trading platforms “to determine whether the trading activities are compliant with securities laws and to determine whether a change in the law may require that the exchange to cease trading.”
The regulator added that the investigation will look at “the trading strategies and practices of these companies.”
Meanwhile the SEC has also launched an inquiry into the cryptocurrency exchanges.
This is not the only regulatory action the US has taken on cryptocurrencies.
In May, the Department of Justice launched a crackdown on online gambling sites that were not listed as securities firms.
It also announced new rules that will require financial institutions to take a tougher stance against money laundering, and to take measures to “protect the integrity of the markets for cryptocurrencies.”