The parent company of BitMEX, the bitcoin trading platform, has hired a new general counsel as the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has been ramping up scrutiny over U.S. residents using similar international platforms not registered with the agency.
HDR Global Trading Ltd., the company behind what it claims is the world’s largest cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform, has appointed Derek Gobel to lead its legal affairs. According to a company statement, Gobel most recently served as BNP Paribas’ general counsel for Asia-Pacific. His LinkedIn profile says he is based in Hong Kong, where the Republic of Seychelles-based BitMEX has an office.
HDR co-founder and CEO Arthur Hayes said in the statement, “Derek brings extensive legal and corporate governance experience. Derek is perfectly qualified to lead our legal function and help us move forward in today’s continually evolving regulatory environment.”
In a company blog post Wednesday, HDR said it is “always looking to bring on exciting new talent.” BitMEX, short for Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, is also dealing with the recent departure of its chief operating officer, Angelina Kwan.
A BitMEX spokesperson confirmed Kwan’s departure, saying Kwan is “on gardening leave now” and added, “That’s all we can say on the matter at the moment, but we wish Angelina all the best.” Gardening leave is a British term for an employee who’s not working physically at an employer’s office during the notice period.
Gobel starts at HDR as Bloomberg broke news in July that the CFTC alleges BitMEX has allowed U.S. citizens to trade on its platform, which is not registered with the U.S. agency that oversees the derivatives market with cryptocurrency exchanges. A phone call to the CFTC confirming the probe was not immediately returned.
On BitMEX’s website, there is a warning at the top saying U.S. and Canadian residents are prohibited from holding positions or entering into contracts on the platform. It adds residents in Cuba, Crimea and Sevastopol, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Sudan, and other jurisdictions where the platform is banned, cannot participate either.
In March, CFTC resolved an action it pursued against Marshall Islands-based 1pool Ltd. and its CEO and owner over illegally offering retail commodity transactions around bitcoin, failing to register as a futures commission merchant, and failing to have the required anti-money laundering procedures in place. In total, 1pool and its CEO were ordered to pay a total of $990,000.