CFTC highlights legal actions against crypto firms in year-end wrap-up

Quick Take

  • The CFTC is advertising its year in enforcement — particularly against crypto firms and investment schemes. 

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has published its annual report on enforcement actions, with cryptocurrency getting top billing. 

The CFTC's division of enforcement's report on fiscal year 2022, which ended Sept. 30, highlighted the commission's 82 enforcement actions, especially their 18 in digital assets, more than 20% of the enforcement proceedings this year. 

“This FY 2022 enforcement report shows the CFTC continues to aggressively police new digital commodity asset markets with all of its available tools," CFTC Chairman Rostin Behnam said in a statement. "I personally thank the Enforcement Division’s hardworking and dedicated leadership team and staff.”

The agency noted its flurry of activity at the end of the fiscal year, including a high-profile action against Ooki DAO, the first enforcement against a decentralized autonomous organization, and its suit against Digitex

During the past fiscal year the agency completed over $2.5 billion worth of enforcement orders, across its entire jurisdiction, including but not limited to digital asset activities. 

The CFTC similarly touted its suits against a South African crypto pool operator that was handling over $1.7 billion in bitcoin, as well as cases against crypto exchange Gemini and stablecoin operator Tether for making false statements about their products. Tether's sister exchange, Bitfinex, also received mention for charges that it facilitated "illegal, off-exchange retail commodity transactions in digital assets with U.S persons."

Crypto's prominence in the report comes as Chairman Rostin Behnam has explicitly rejected the notion of the CFTC as "light touch" amidst a lobbying push to earn the agency more power over crypto spot markets. Last month the Treasury Department also called on financial regulators to "double down" on enforcement of current financial laws and rules in regards to digital assets. 

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