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This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin and others. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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September 7, 2023

In the highest civil monetary penalty ever ordered in a CFTC case, South Africa-based Mirror Trading International Proprietary Limited (MTI) and its founder and CEO, Cornelius Johannes Steynberg, have been ordered to pay $1.7 billion for defrauding over 23,000 U.S.-based retail foreign currency (forex) investors and failing to comply with commodity pool operator regulations.  MTI and Steynberg solicited Bitcoin from U.S. as well as foreign investors, purportedly trading off-exchange retail forex through an unregistered commodity pool, when in fact they were enriching themselves through a multilevel marketing scheme.  CFTC

August 10, 2023

Crypto asset trading platform Bittrex Inc. and its co-founder and former CEO, William Shihara, has agreed to pay $24 million in civil penalties, disgorgement, and prejudgment interest to settle charges of acting as an unregistered broker, exchange, and clearing agency, in violation of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  According to the SEC, Bittrex had actively avoided government regulation by directing token issuers to scrub their public statements of certain statements that may be problematic.  SEC

July 13, 2023

Cryptocurrency platform Celsius Network has been banned from handling consumer assets and ordered to pay a $4.7 billion judgment, suspended pending the return of remaining assets to consumers in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.  Before filing for bankruptcy in July 2022, Celsius marketed the platform as a safe place to deposit cryptocurrency and made various representations to build consumer confidence, including promises that consumers could withdraw deposits at any time, that deposits were insured by a $750 million policy, that sufficient reserves were on hand, and that deposits could earn as high as 18% APY.  However, all of those claims were all false, and in fact, Celsius misappropriated $4 billion in deposits, using them to fund operations, reward other consumers, and make high-risk investments that often lost money.  FTC; SEC

July 12, 2023

Florida man Adam Todd and his companies, Digitex LLC, Digitex Limited, Digitex Software Limited, and Blockster Holdings Limited Corporation, have been banned from registering with the CFTC and trading in CFTC-regulated markets, and ordered to pay almost $4 million in disgorgement and $12 million in civil monetary penalty.  According to the agency, the defendants failed to register with the CFTC, failed to comply with certain regulations, attempted to manipulate the price of a digital asset token, and violated anti-money laundering procedures.  CFTC

June 6, 2023

Coinbase, Inc. has been ordered to pay $5 million for offering unregistered securities through staking offerings, in violation of New Jersey’s securities laws.  Not registering offerings with the CFTC subjected Coinbase’s 3.5 million staking investors to increased risk. NJ AG

May 30, 2023

Former Coinbase manager, Ishan Wahi, and his brother, Nikhil Wahi, have been sentenced to 2 years and 10 months in prison respectively and ordered to forfeit cryptocurrency and cash in order to resolve civil and criminal charges of insider trading.  As part of his position at Coinbase, Ishan helped coordinate public listing announcements for crypto assets, at least nine of which were crypto securities.  In violation of Coinbase’s rules as well as federal law, Ishan tipped his brother Nikhil and friend Sameer Ramani off to the assets’ release, allowing them to purchase them and sell them for a profit.  SEC

April 27, 2023

Gary James Harmon will spend 51 months in prison for stealing 712 bitcoin subject to forfeiture. Gary’s brother, Larry Dean Harmon, operated a cryptocurrency money laundering service on the darknet, with large amounts of said money coming from darknet markets. Knowing the government was attempting to seize Larry’s crypto, Gary transferred the $4.8 million in bitcoin to his own accounts, using Larry’s credentials to effectuate the transfer. DOJ, USAO DC

March 24, 2023

Michael Alan Stollery, the CEO and founder of purported cryptocurrency investment platform Titanium Blockchain Infrastructure Services Inc. (“TBIS”), has been sentenced to over 4 years in prison.  According to the DOJ, Stollery failed to register TBIS’s ICO with the SEC and falsified information on TBIS’s website and white papers, including information about TBIS’s prospects for profitability, client testimonials, and business relationships.  Additionally, he misappropriated client funds to pay off personal expenses.  DOJ

February 16, 2023

Nexo Capital Inc., which provides crypto-asset-related financial services, has agreed to pay $45 million to multiple state and federal securities regulators to resolve allegations that it offered and sold unregistered securities.  An investigation by a working group of state securities regulators, North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), had found that Nexo illegally offered interest-bearing digital asset deposit accounts to over 90,000 clients with total assets valued at $800 million.  NJ AG

February 9, 2023

Payward Ventures, Inc. and Payward Trading Ltd., better known as Kraken, has agreed to pay $30 million in disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties for its failure to register the offer and sale of its crypto asset staking-as-a-service program.  Staking involves investors locking their crypto tokens with a blockchain validator; if the tokens then become used to validate data for the blockchain, their owners are rewarded with additional tokens.  According to the SEC, Kraken advertised its staking-as-a-service program as having annual investment returns of as much as 21%, but failed to properly register or disclose risks to investors.  SEC
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