U.S. SEC Accelerate Crypto Enforcement Activity by up to 50%

United States financial markets regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) took its crypto laws violation clampdown to a notch higher. 

Based on the results from research conducted by a Carlifornia-headquartered consulting firm known as Cornerstone Research, the volume of crypto-related enforcement actions carried out by the SEC in 2022 went up 50% from the figure in 2021.

In 2022, there were several issues of fraud, unregistered securities, and other crypto-related crimes which rounded up to about 30 events.

This figure is close to the 29 crypto-related enforcement actions that were seen in 2020. Last year, there were about 70% of fraud cases and another 73% related to unregistered securities. While about 50% were charged with both cases.

Crypto Firms and SEC Enforcement Actions

The implosion of FTX and the resignation of Sam Bankman-Fried as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was one of the core cases in which the SEC was involved. The young billionaire was accused of mishandling customers’ deposits and defrauding investors all to which he pleaded not guilty. 

Equally, a former employee of American crypto exchange Coinbase alongside his brother and his friend were all charged with wire fraud based on insider trading. This was almost at the same time when the exchange was being investigated for allegedly permitting Americans to trade unregistered securities.

Bored Ape Yacht Club (BAYC) collection creator Yuga Labs, was also indicted with a federal securities law violation in October. Solana Labs and Ripple Labs have also been victims of such unregistered securities accusations. The Chairman of the U.S. regulatory agency Gary Gensler eventually clarified that a significant volume of cryptocurrencies is securities and should, therefore, be registered as such.

The author of the SEC report who is also the principal at Cornerstone Research Simona Mola said “It seems crypto assets will likely continue to be a priority under the Gensler administration.” The recent expansion and investment in its Crypto Asset and Cyber Unit go to further emphasize Mola’s claim. 

Meanwhile, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the SEC are trying to decide who gets the upper hand in terms of controlling the crypto market. The CFTC has been lobbying the senate to approve its desire to play a major role as the core regulator in the crypto market.