US crypto exchanges Coinbase and Gemini are setting up offshore platforms to hunt overseas customers and avoid exposure to regulatory assault from US authorities.
US-based Cryptocurrency Exchanges Coinbase and Gemini Start Establishing Offshore Platforms
Two of the largest exchanges, Nasdaq-listed Coinbase and Gemini, have stepped up their plans to open marketplaces outside the US following sanctions lawsuits against domestic crypto companies.
US regulators have tightened their control of the digital assets market after the failure of lenders such as the Sam Bankman-Fried-run exchange Celsius Network and FTX.
In addition to targeting individuals, auditors have declared certain products illegal in the US and forced companies to withdraw from lucrative business.
In contrast, offshore rivals of US crypto exchanges were able to launch their products and gain market share with less fear of retaliation.
Saying it's decentralized, Binance has become and remains the world's largest crypto exchange with daily volumes that outshine its US rivals.
“For crypto companies trying to adapt, they are being penalized in the marketplace by competitors who believe that asking for forgiveness is better than asking permission,” said John Reed Stark, former head of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s internet enforcement division.
Coinbase said obtaining a license in Bermuda would increase "economic freedom and opportunity" for its customers. However, pressures in the US also increased investors' concerns about using the US market.
Since the beginning of the year, Kraken has agreed to end its staking business in the US, where customers have agreed to lock their tokens in other crypto projects in exchange for a high return, as part of an agreement with the SEC.
As uncertainty persists, US markets are losing ground against their offshore competitors. Since January, Coinbase's share of the spot crypto market has nearly halved to 5 percent, according to data from Kaiko.
Binance, on the other hand, gained 30 percent, thanks in part to free trade.
Smaller competitors such as Turkish crypto platform BtcTurk, Korea's UpBit and EU-based Bitpanda recorded double-digit gains in overall trading volume in the first four months of 2023 compared to the previous four-month period.
*Not investment advice.