- REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
- Bittrex hires two former Homeland Security officials and Amazon security chief as executives.
- Bittrex was criticised by customers over withdrawal and customer service issues.
- Business Insider has also reported on the existence of “pump and dump” scams on the exchange.
LONDON – An under-fire US cryptocurrency exchange has hired two former top government officials and a former Amazon executive to beef up its management.
Las Vegas-registered Bittrex hired:
- Kiran Raj as chief strategy officer: Raj was a partner at law firm O’Melveny & Myers and was formerly the Deputy General Counsel of the Homeland Security Department. He has also worked at the Justice Department.
- John Roth as chief compliance and ethics officer: Roth was Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security prior to joining Bittrex and spent 25 years at the Justice Department.
- Jim Waschak as chief operating officer: Waschak is a 12 year veteran of Amazon, most recently serving as director of information security for Amazon’s Worldwide Consumer Organization.
The senior appointments come at a time when Bittrex is facing criticism from customers and grappling with the problem of market manipulation on its exchange.
Business Insider reported earlier this month that multiple users of the exchange were complaining they were unable to withdraw money and were left in the dark as to why. Bittrex said the withdrawal issues are down to new identity verification procedures and said they were hiring additional support staff to deal with the backlog.
Business Insider has also reported on the existence of “pump and dump” scams organised on the Bittrex exchange. A trader who claimed to organise the scams told BI he had made “hundreds of thousands” in profits and bought a Tesla. “We all use Bittrex for market manipulation,” the traders told BI.
Bittrex wrote to customers shortly after BI’s first “pump and dump” story warning them against “any type of market manipulation, including pump groups.”
Roth and Raj said in a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday: “Everyone in this industry can do better. That includes the company we decided to join. But as blockchain technology evolves and grows, we urge U.S. regulators to move carefully and judiciously to avoid driving more innovation outside the U.S. and harming the legitimate industry players.”
The pair said they “plan to work with our former government colleagues to bridge the gap between the industry and policymakers.”
Bittrex CEO Bill Shihara, a former Amazon engineer, said: “Our mission is to develop the most trusted cryptocurrency exchange in the world, and we believe the breadth of experience that these individuals bring will be critical to achieving that goal.
“They will drive our enduring commitment to foster a secure and regulated trading environment that creates more opportunities for blockchain technology and the future of finance and security.”
Bittrex was founded in 2014 and had a 24-hour trading volume of $3.2 billion over its exchange as of Friday, according to CoinMarketCap.com.