The wave of government enforcement against cryptocurrency companies is beginning to remake the industry.
Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange in the United States, has opened a business in Bermuda. Gemini, a rival firm based in New York, is seeking a license in the United Arab Emirates. And Bittrex, an exchange in Seattle, has shut down its U.S. operations.
After years of trying to shape federal regulation in the United States, a growing number of American crypto companies — particularly the exchanges where customers buy and sell digital tokens — are exploring plans to build their businesses abroad. They are expanding into new markets and weighing the possibility of leaving the country entirely.
The moves are a response to a growing law enforcement crackdown that has made the United States one of the strictest regulators of crypto in the world. On Tuesday, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a long-anticipated lawsuit against Coinbase, arguing that the exchange was marketing securities without the proper registration. A day earlier, the S.E.C. sued the international crypto exchange Binance, seeking to bar its founder from the U.S. securities market.