OKX Delists Tether’s USDT for EU Users Amid Regulatory Concerns

OKX has discontinued support for cryptocurrency trading pairs involving Tether’s USDT stablecoin for users based in the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA).

Starting Monday, OKX’s platform restricted spot crypto trading to only USDC and euro pairs, while USDT could only be traded against USDC and euro, according to a report from Bloomberg

The change was initially reported by a trader on X, who shared a customer support note citing regulatory compliance and platform security as the reasons for the adjustment.

Breaking: @Tether_to $USDT pairs have been removed by @okx in the EU

Only $EUR and $USDC @circle pairs now allowed. Huge news. pic.twitter.com/E1HNHRaLkB

— MartyParty (@martypartymusic) March 18, 2024

OKX Focuses on Euro-Denominated Liquidity

An OKX spokesperson clarified that the decision was driven by the exchange’s focus on euro-denominated liquidity in the region. 

“This year our focus is to expand EURO pair liquidity and become the preferred venue for EURO to crypto spot trading,” the spokesperson said. 

“We evaluated this decision, and delisting the current USDT pairs only impacts a small subset of our user base. Importantly, we’ve recently expanded our product offering in the EEA by introducing a variety of Euro fiat onramps and Euro pairs.”

While USDT trading pairs have been removed for EU users, USDT remains available on the OKX platform for depositing, withdrawing, and engaging in over-the-counter (OTC) trading, including buying, selling, and conversion, as confirmed by the exchange’s representative.

With a trading volume of $100 billion, USDT is the largest stablecoin and serves as a crucial infrastructure component for crypto trading on centralized exchanges, particularly as the most liquid trading pair for Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets.

OKX’s recent action may indicate potential regulatory challenges ahead for the popular stablecoin within the region, as the EU is set to implement its comprehensive digital asset regulatory framework called MiCA later this year. 

Under these new rules, stablecoin issuers will be required to obtain regulation as electronic money institutions. 

Circle, the issuer behind the second-largest stablecoin USDC and the euro-pegged token EURC, has obtained conditional registration for digital asset services in France and has applied for an electronic money institution license in the EU. 

Tether Surpasses $100 Billion Market Cap

In early March, Tether’s USDT surpassed a market capitalization of $100 billion, with an impressive growth of 9% year-to-date.

Comparatively, USDT maintains a lead of over $71 billion in market cap when compared to its closest competitor, USD Coin (USDC).

Despite the success, concerns about the quality of assets backing USDT have lingered in the crypto space. 

A recent United Nations report highlighted Tron’s popularity among cyber fraud and money laundering activities in Southeast Asia. 

Tether has refuted these claims, emphasizing its collaboration with law enforcement and the traceability of its token.

In response to the UN report, Tether said that its collaboration with global law enforcement, including the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the United States Secret Service (USSS), has resulted in unparalleled monitoring capabilities, surpassing traditional banking systems. 

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