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Canadian regulator takes enforcement actions against Bybit and KuCoin

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The Ontario Securities Commission, or OSC, issued financial penalties against Bybit and KuCoin, claiming violation of securities laws and operating unregistered crypto asset trading platforms.

In a Wednesday announcement, the Ontario regulator said it had obtained orders banning KuCoin from participating in the province’s capital markets and fining the exchange for more than $1.6 million. The OSC also announced that, as part of a settlement agreement, Bybit disgorged roughly $2.4 million and paid the regulator $7,724 as part of the costs of its investigation. Both firms allegedly failed to comply with Ontario securities laws, but only Bybit “responded to the OSC’s enforcement action, maintained an open dialogue, provided requested information, and committed to engaging in registration discussions.”

“Foreign crypto asset trading platforms that want to operate in Ontario must play by the rules or face enforcement action,” said OSC Director of  Enforcement Jeff Kehoe.

The move by the regulatory body was the latest in a series of warnings and legal actions taken against crypto exchanges offering services to Ontario residents. In March 2021, the OSC issued a deadline for crypto firms operating in the province to register in compliance with securities law by April. According to the regulator, Bybit will “wind up its Ontario operations” if the firm is unable to register.

Related: Binance tells regulators it will cease operations in Ontario… for real this time

Both Bybit and Kucoin allegedly did not comply with the securities regulator, prompting hearings and other enforcement actions starting in June 2021. The OSC had already initiated regulatory actions against crypto exchanges Poloniex and OKX (formerly known as OKEx) for similar violations of securities laws.

As of June 1, eight companies are listed as registered crypto asset trading platforms in Ontario, including Fidelity Digital Assets, Bitvo and Bitbuy.