cryptoassets regulation

Almost half of the enforcement activity brought by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in fiscal 2023 involved crypto and other forms of digital assets.

The regulator reported that it filed a total of 96 enforcement actions in its latest fiscal year (to Sept. 30), including 62 administrative tribunal cases and 34 civil actions.

Of its overall enforcement actions, a record number — 47 — involved conduct that related to cryptoassets. These included cases against the founders of failed crypto giants FTX, Binance and Celsius, along with complaints against individual Ponzi-schemers.

The CFTC noted that it also won a precedent-setting case against a decentralized autonomous organization, brought novel litigation involving cross-market manipulation on blockchains, and took action in the decentralized finance space.

In addition to cases involving digital assets, the CFTC brought cases alleging fraud, manipulation, spoofing and other forms of manipulative trading, as well as cases involving non-compliance with regulatory requirements.

“The commission continues to remain laser-focused on stopping and deterring fraud and manipulation in the U.S.,” said Rostin Benham, chair of the CFTC, in a release.

“I am proud of the division of enforcement’s groundbreaking work in the digital asset space, which resulted in a record number of cases, as well as staff’s dedication to holding registrants and market participants accountable for their conduct in CFTC regulated markets.”

Fiscal 2023 enforcement activity generated over US$4.3 billion in penalties, restitution and disgorgement, it said.

The regulator also paid out approximately US$16 million to seven whistleblowers for providing tips that led to successful enforcement action.