BitMEX CEO Alexander Hoeptner resigns, CFO takes lead

Crypto exchange BitMEX announced the allocation of new leadership roles following the departure of its chief executive officer Alexander Hoeptner.

BitMEX has promoted auditing veteran and its chief financial officer Stephan Lutz as its new CEO. He has originally joined the exchange in May 2021 with nearly a decade of experience as partner at auditing and consultancy giant PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

100x Group, the holding group for BitMEX’s parent company HDR Global Trading Limited, appointed Hoptner to lead the embattled platform in December 2020. He joined the exchange in January 2021 to take over from Vivien Khoo who had served as the interim CEO since founder Arthur Hayes stepped down.

Before BitMEX, Hoptner spent two decades in the German stock exchange industry. Most recently, he served as the CEO of Börse Stuttgart GmbH, Germany’s second-largest stock exchange. Under his leadership, the exchange pioneered crypto and tokenized securities, becoming Europe’s first stock exchange to offer digital asset trading.

Hoptner also served in executive roles with liquidity provider Euwax AG and Deutsche Börse AG, Germany’s largest exchange. He led BitMEX during a crucial time when its co-founders, CTO and business development head Greg Dwyer resigned after US prosecutors indicted them.

The four men stood accused of violating the Bank Secrecy Act, evading money laundering regulations and operating an unlicensed business. The indicted officials allowed BitMEX to operate as a platform “in the shadows of the financial markets,” the DoJ said.

In August 2020, BitMEX paid $100 million in a settlement with the US authorities over allegations it broke CFTC and FinCEN rules by allowing Americans to trade on the platform.

Hoptner leaves shortly after the exchange closed yet another legal chapter that began two years ago. BitMEX’s former head of business development, Gregory Dwyer was the latest to plead guilty to violating the US Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and allowing customers to use the platform to circumvent the federal anti-money laundering rules.

The news came a few months after BitMEX founders, Arthur Hayes, Samuel Reed and Benjamin Delo, pled guilty in a US federal court and agreed to each pay a $10 million fine.  While each man faced a possible five years behind bars for their crimes, media reports at the time claimed they had worked out a deal to serve a maximum of six-to-12 month.

Since then, the exchange has implemented changes and hired in key positions as it fights to save its reputation.