BarnBridge DAO advised to halt DeFi operations amid purported SEC probe

Quick Take

  • BarnBridge’s protocol, with a mere $1.35 million in total value locked, is being investigated by the U.S. SEC, its lawyer said Friday, without elaborating on what the probe is about.
  • “Existing liquidity pools should be closed,” BarnBridge’s lawyer said.

BarnBridge DAO, which runs a small DeFi protocol, is facing an investigation from the U.S. securities regulator. The DAO’s lawyer advised that all BarnBridge-linked products halt operations in a Discord message sent Friday.

Douglas Park, an attorney who was only hired by BarnBridge last week, told DAO members on Friday via Discord that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is investigating BarnBridge and individuals associated with it.

“To reduce potential further legal liability, existing liquidity pools should be closed, and no more liquidity pools should be started,” Park said. “All work on BarnBridge-related products should stop, and individuals should no longer be compensated for any work they do related to BarnBridge until further notice.”

Tyler Ward, co-founder of BarnBridge, confirmed Park’s message on Discord, saying, “I’ve been advised to not comment on this going forward… This would be the worst thought-out rug attempt in history for us to make this up.”

Park and Ward did not elaborate on the SEC probe and did not immediately respond to The Block’s requests for comment.

The SEC did not immediately respond to The Block’s comment request.

BOND price falls

The price of BOND, BarnBridge’s native token, dropped 9.3% to $3.01 in the past 24 hours, according to CoinGecko data.

The total value locked of BarnBridge came in at $1.35 million on Friday, compared to its peak of around $574.9 million in November 2020, according to data from DeFi Llama

Launched in September 2020, the protocol intended to help investors hedge against price fluctuations. According to its Medium blog page, BarnBridge aims to “offer interest rate swaps allowing for any variable yield to be swapped to a fixed rate.”

The BarnBridge probe is another example — if a somewhat unexpected one — of the SEC’s increasingly aggressive stance towards the crypto industry, and another sign that it sees its remit stretching beyond centralized crypto exchanges.

Last month, the SEC filed lawsuits against Binance and Coinbase, the two largest crypto exchanges in the industry, for allegedly violating securities laws.

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