BitMEX founder Delo posts $20M bail, denies money laundering charges

an image of smiley face with banknotes for teeth

BitMEX co-founder Benjamin Delo was released on a $20 million bail bond after pleading not guilty to violating US banking laws. 

Delo created BitMEX along with Arthur Hayes and Samuel Reed in 2014. The exchange allowed retail investors to margin trade crypto derivatives and leverage their bets on Bitcoin’s price performance.

  • US authorities say BitMEX was intentionally open for money laundering. 
  • The pioneers of the perpetual Bitcoin futures contract deny the charges. 
  • It’s now up to the lawyers to make a case for financial innovation over financial regulation. 

The US authorities say the founders ignored requirements that it register with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and lax customer verification left the platform wide open for money laundering.  

Delo signed The Giving Pledge in 2019, along with many other philanthropic endeavors, but a generous public persona can’t protect him from the scrutiny of the federal courts. He denies the charges against him and a spokesperson called the allegations an “unwarranted overreach by the US authorities.” 

Benjamin Delo is widely regarded as Britain’s first crypto billionaire. After working in traditional finance for the likes of JP Morgan Chase & Co, he created the BitMEX exchange and the controversial perpetual futures contract — allowing users to bet on the price of Bitcoin with a 100x leverage.

[Read more: SEC demands banks share Ripple execs’ personal finance records]

As for the rest of the BitMEX team, Hayes is reportedly planning to surrender in April and Reed was arrested in Massachusetts last year. The exchange’s first employee and head of business development Gregory Dwyer continues to evade the authorities.

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