Policy Scoop with Aislinn Keely: Former SDNY prosecutor breaks down crypto's first insider trading case

Episode 62 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Aislinn Keely, Policy Reporter.

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Last month, a grand jury indicted OpenSea's former head of product in what amounts to the first insider trading enforcement in crypto. 

Nathaniel Chastain allegedly purchased and sold non-fungible tokens (NFTs) he knew would be listed on OpenSea's homepage at a considerable profit. This alleged activity looks a lot like front running or insider trading, in which someone profits off of non-public information.

But insider trading is a securities violation, and NFTs are not currently classified as securities. For that reason, the Department of Justice is arguing a creative case theory that doesn't include securities violations. Instead, the DOJ is seeking to stick Chastain with wire fraud and money laundering charges. 

In this month's episode of Policy Scoop, Aislinn Keely sits down with Ian McGinley, former co-chief of the complex frauds and cybercrime unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and current partner at Akin Gump’s white-collar defense and government investigations practice, to take a closer look at the case. McGinley breaks down:

  • Implications for the enforcement of insider trading in crypto
  • What wire fraud means in this context and how it's been used in the past
  • How the DOJ's case theory could be used in future enforcements

This episode is brought to you by our sponsors Chainalysis & IWC Schauffhausen

About Chainalysis
Chainalysis is the leading blockchain data platform. We provide data, software, services, and research to government agencies, exchanges, financial institutions, and insurance and cybersecurity companies in over 60 countries. Backed by Accel, Addition, Benchmark, Coatue, Paradigm, Ribbit, and other leading firms in venture capital, Chainalysis builds trust in blockchains to promote more financial freedom with less risk. For more information, visit www.chainalysis.com.

About IWC Schaffhausen
IWC Schaffhausen is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer based in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. Known for its unique engineering approach to watchmaking, IWC combines the best of human craftsmanship and creativity with cutting-edge technology and processes. With collections like the Portugieser and the Pilot’s Watches, the brand covers the whole spectrum from elegant timepieces to sports watches. For more information, visit IWC.com

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