Crypto lending firm BlockFi Lending LLC is paying US$100 million and launching an effort to get registered after settlements with federal and state U.S. securities regulators.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) jointly announced settlements with BlockFi that will see the firm pay US$50 million to each organization to resolve allegations that it violated both federal and state registration rules.
To settle the charges without admitting or denying the allegations, BlockFi also agreed to cease its unregistered offerings and to bring its business in compliance with the registration requirements within 60 days.
The SEC charged the firm with failing to register its retail crypto lending product and with violating the registration provisions of the Investment Company Act of 1940.
In parallel actions, BlockFi agreed to settle similar charges with 32 state regulators. NASAA said that more states are expected to agree to the terms of the settlement.
SEC chair Gary Gensler said this was the first case of its kind for crypto lending platforms.
“Today’s settlement makes clear that crypto markets must comply with time-tested securities laws, such as the Securities Act of 1933 and the Investment Company Act of 1940,” he said in a release.
“It further demonstrates the commission’s willingness to work with crypto platforms to determine how they can come into compliance with those laws.”
BlockFi said the settlement provides regulatory clarity and a “path forward” for U.S. clients to keep earning interest on their crypto assets.
“From the day we started BlockFi, we have always known that strong engagement with regulators would be critical for the adoption of financial services powered by cryptocurrencies,” said BlockFi CEO and founder Zac Prince in a statement.
“Today’s milestone is yet another example of our pioneering efforts in securing regulatory clarity for the broader industry and our clients.”
“We intend for BlockFi Yield to be a new, SEC-registered crypto interest-bearing security, which will allow clients to earn interest on their crypto assets,” he said.
BlockFi noted that it cooperated with the government’s investigation and has undertaken remediation actions.
Gurbir Grewal, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said other crypto-lending platforms should “take immediate notice of today’s resolution and come into compliance with the federal securities laws.”