Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitfinex Plans Move to Switzerland
The 5th largest cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex is moving from Hong Kong to Switzerland. As confirmed by sources close to Bitfinex, the exchange is already in talks with Swiss authorities.
The CEO at Bitfinex Jean-Louis van der Velde said, they are looking for a new home for Bitfinex and the parent company iFinex, where they want to merge the operations previously spread over several locations.
Van der Velde said that Bitfinex, now based in Hong Kong, was also considering London as a potential new location, but for now, Switzerland remains its first choice.
IFinex is also the parent company of Tether, a token pegged to the U.S. dollar. It is traded on several exchanges, including Bitfinex, but since no third-party audit has ever taken place, questions linger as to whether the $2.3 billion in USDT so far issued by Tether are backed by actual dollars.
Adding to the opaqueness of Bitfinex’s business dealings, since April 2017, Bitfinex and Tether have been cut off from banks in the U.S. and Taiwan and have been left to move among a series of banks in other countries, without informing their customers.
Van der Velde hints that a move to Switzerland would bring a renewed transparency to the business. “We want to be the most transparent of all exchanges and meet the requirements of the Swiss regulator,” he said, adding that Bitfinex is currently in talks with Swiss banks.
Switzerland is the home of several initial coin offerings, where the town of Zug has unofficially become “Crypto Valley.” The move could be a win-win for both Bitfinex and Switzerland. Also the Bitfinex will attract more technology business to the Switzerland.
Bitfinex is not the only exchange that is looking to exit Hong Kong. Last week, Hong Kong–based Binance, the largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, announced it was looking to relocate to Malta, after running up against regulatory hurdles in Asia.