Is Bittrex violating Canadian privacy law, and committing theft by withholding my cryptocurrencies?

2 minute read

I moved some cryptocurrency into a popular exchange called Bittrex. I did some cryptocurrency trades, and last night decided to take a little out. Now first off, Bittrex has 3 levels of verification; one of them is just an email account, one of them is where they have you verified identity including address (Basic), and the last is the full KYC process (Enhanced). I gave them my full name and address, to complete the basic verification, back when I created the account. As I don't plan on doing any large transactions, or converting to fiat (USD/CAD) currency, I didn't bother with their enhanced verification -- but also because I'm a foreigner, and I don't trust them to handle my government issued identification documents, or their ID verification provider, Jumio. Imagine my surprise when attempting to withdrawal my cryptocurrency within their identified limits; my request was denied saying I've hit a maximum withdrawal limit. This is impossible I thought, I've never withdrawn anything.

[caption id="attachment_986" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Bittrex Alleged Limit Bittrex Alleged Limit[/caption]

After a lot of digging around, it turns out that they're alleging that my Basic Authentication was never completed.

[caption id="attachment_987" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Bittrex Auth Failed Bittrex Auth Failed[/caption]

Without any ability to know what the issue is to correct it, or withdrawal my funds, it's now telling me the only way to get my cryptocurrency out, is to complete their privacy invasive Enhanced verification process.

Now before I go into details how I think they're violating Canadian privacy laws, and have stolen my cryptocurrency, I want to mention an important plausible reasons for using KYC which I've highlighted before. The reason we have KYC is to prevent money laundering, a reasonable reason to implement -- if the transactions are over $10,000 and it's involving traditional state regulated dollars (fiat).

In Canada for example, where I live, cryptocurrency is not regulated by the same laws. Only when I transfer my cryptocurrency to fiat currency do KYC laws apply and I would be responsible for disclosing my earnings, according my accountant. And I'm fine with that. But what is important, is I will not be doing that through Bittrex, or any organization on US soil. I have done KYC on an exchange in my country, where I am comfortable with them being custodians of my government issued ID.

After doing some searching today, it seems that it's not uncommon for Bittrex to take months to even reply to customers, let alone complete KYC even if they do try.

Now, in Canada, we have great privacy laws, and businesses must reply to privacy requests within 30 days otherwise myself, as the user, can legally file a privacy complaint against Bittrex. If you're in the same boat as me, drop me a line and I will help you with the process to file a privacy complaint against Bittrex that they are complying with Canadian privacy laws. The more people whom complain, the faster this will get resolved, and the better we'll all be.

If any lawyers or law enforcement are reading this, I would love your feedback on handling the theft by Bittrex of my cryptocurrency. Last night I tried to take out my cryptocurrency assets that I have before drop to a loss, and Bittrex is not allowing me to take out my funds.

Bittrex allows 0 withdrawals of cryptocurrency, of the cryptocurrency deposited into their system, and that's obviously just not right. If they don't allow withdrawals, they should not be taking deposits in the first place.


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