In a recent announcement, cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has revealed its decision to discontinue Ether (ETH) staking services for customers based in the United States. The move, set to take effect on September 25, marks a significant change for Bitstamp users in the U.S.
Customers who have been participating in ETH staking on the platform will continue to receive staking rewards until September 25, 2023. After this date, all staked assets will be unstaked, and both rewards and the initial staking amount will be credited to users' main Bitstamp account balances. However, users are advised that it might take a few days for these changes to be reflected in their balances, according to Bobby Zagotta, the U.S. CEO and global chief commercial officer at Bitstamp.
Bitstamp's website indicates that the exchange imposes a 15% commission on all staking rewards. As of now, the monthly reward rate for staking ETH on the platform is 4.50%. In contrast, staking Algorand (ALGO) yields a monthly reward rate of 1.60%. The discontinuation of ETH staking services in the U.S. aligns with similar restrictions already in place in other countries, including Canada, Japan, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.
The decision to halt ETH staking for U.S. customers is likely influenced by recent legal developments within the country. Bitstamp had previously announced that several altcoins, including Axie Infinity (AXS), Chiliz (CHZ), Decentraland (MANA), Polygon (MATIC), Near (NEAR), The Sandbox (SAND), and Solana (SOL), would no longer be available for trading in the U.S. These tokens were classified as unregistered securities by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in June. The decision to suspend trading of these tokens was part of the SEC's legal actions against prominent cryptocurrency exchanges Binance and Coinbase.
The regulatory landscape in the United States remains complex, particularly concerning the classification of cryptocurrencies. Ethereum's native cryptocurrency, Ether (ETH), is the second-largest digital asset by market capitalization after Bitcoin. However, there is ongoing debate about whether ETH should be categorized as a commodity or a security. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has consistently labeled Ether as a commodity. On the other hand, SEC Chair Gary Gensler's stance has been less definitive, classifying Bitcoin as a commodity but refraining from clearly designating ETH as a security.
As Bitstamp discontinues ETH staking for U.S. customers, the crypto community will continue to watch closely for further developments in the regulatory environment that could impact the classification and trading of digital assets in the country.